Hong Kong

                                      (Ferry ride my internship, view of Hong Kong Island)

Hey –

        It’s really expensive to get a visa for U.S. citizens, so I have decided to only go into China with my second internship. Since, with the second internship I will stay in China for a longer period of time, 5 days at a time. For a single-entry Chinese visa is approximately $170 USD. My first trip into China and the factory is this upcoming Wednesday. It was really easy to get a visa. Everyone at the office speaks English and it takes about 4 days to be processed. All you need is your passport to get a Chinese visa. I can’t wait to see what the factory and country are like…..

         Hong Kong had a period of about a week and half of a lot of rain. Very disappointing because so much of HK activities are outdoors. Everyone was really bummed. From what I have heard though, it’s not the norm for the city to rain that much. Recently temperatures have dropped to 55-75 degrees. Whereas, only a few weeks ago it was between 75-85 degrees everyday. Super nice :). I play a lot of volleyball here. Local people and some expats are really into the sport. It is competitive but fun. The team members usually go out to dinner afterwards. It has been my favorite thing to do in Hong Kong so far.

      I walked up to ‘the peak’ the other day with my flatmate. ‘The peak’ is a steep hill that overlooks most of Hong Kong’s islands and bodies of water in between. At the bottom of the hill is the city but on the way up it is dense with trees and wildlife. At the top of the hill, ‘the peak’, there are residential buildings, a small mall and restaurants and things. It’s a beautiful view of the whole city. I plan to do more sight-seeing when I am finished with the internship and have also planned a trip to Thailand at the end of December with a friend that I am excited about! We will stay in Bangkok for two nights, a couple nights in Kanchanaburi (northeast of Bangkok). There, we will live in a bungalow and go elephant trekking and swimming with elephants and to a tiger temple. All Eco-friendly activities. My friend and I made sure they were Eco-friendly because we read unfortunately that some places are not. Some of the local Thai people overuse their elephants for tourist attractions, not allowing the elephants enough rest or shade. And can be mistreated by not receiving care for injuries or infections. But many people are aware of this issue and therefore post information online about Eco-safe elephant attractions. The Eco-friendly establishments are even given awards for their upstanding treatment towards their animals. From Kanchanaburi, my friend and I will fly to Phuket and stay at a surrounding island (haven’t decided which one yet). There, we will go snorkeling, hiking, visit a big Buddha and temple, sea kayaking at Phi Phi Island and most likely some spa treatments. All of these activities are fairly inexpensive in Thailand. Many people from HK area go to Thailand for vacation. December and January is the best time to go because it is Thailand’s ideal climate.

           I saw a cast and set for an American movie coming out in 2013 the other day, the film will be called The American Tourist. They were filming outside my apartment in Central, in the middle of the food markets. And a few days later I saw them filming in one of the metro stations.

          As for the nightlife in Hong Kong, there is an area called Lan Kwai Fong or “lkf” where a lot of expats hang out. Its a lot of fun. The clubs play really good music. I don’t think they ever close either! I have been out pretty late a couple of times and saw no signs of shutting down. I asked a few people about it and they believe the clubs close at 8 in the morning! Pretty wild. But the city is really safe, I never feel in danger. At least, I can speak for the areas of Central, Wanchai and Causeway Bay. Cabs are plentiful and inexpensive. You can get home anywhere on the island for under $10. Usually cost me about $5.

This week I will go to China and a Christmas party for the company on Saturday! Enjoy exploring!!

Xx Christa

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