I’ve been to scores of big cities all over the world, and it’s no secret that Hong Kong still ranks as my perhaps my all-time favorite (though it may tie with Shanghai). It is also on my very short list of cities that I’m considering moving to when I finally bail out of the US in 2025. On this visit, I’m not visiting, I’m “living” here for a week, as part of my new travel program.
It’s not a libertarian country, but it’s the closest thing we have to it. It’s not Blade Runner or Star Wars, but it’s the closest thing we have to it. It’s not perfect, but it has very few downsides, and when I’m here I can’t stop smiling. Hong Kong…the most fabulous city on Earth.
As always, there is an exciting vibrancy here in Asia that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, including the US. In terms of work ethic and bustle, Asia is where the US was in the early 1900s. While the Western world is busing arguing with itself over stupid shit and bankrupting itself, Asia is working very hard to take over the world. And it will. Eventually. That’s why I’m here.
I’ve been in Hong Kong enough times where I can now navigate the city without a map or phone, though I still cheat and use Google maps on my Android just to be efficient. While I’m still very biased and love the city, I’m past the euphoria I once had when I first visited it in 2006. Today I’ll review it just like I review any other city in the “A Dragon In” series, showing both the good and the bad. All the pictures in this post (and in all “A Dragon In” posts) are ones I took myself.
1. The women. This is Hong Kong’s biggest problem, at least in my opinion. I’ve talked before about how Chinese women just aren’t attractive. HK isn’t China but it’s still a Chinese country, so it’s no exception. I can see literally thousands of women as I walk around the city, and I might see one or two that I’d actually want to have sex with. I’m serious. One or two.
I think Korean women and Japanese women are very hot. But those Chinese women…well, they aren’t ugly (that would be the Filipino women), but they’re not attractive at all. They also have very small boobs and very flat butts, so much so that often their jeans can sag down because there’s nothing holding them up. Sometimes you’ll see man/woman couples holding hands, and the guy’s butt is bigger than the woman’s. Again, I’m not exaggerating.
I know a few white guys who think Chinese women are hot. I envy these men. If I found Chinese women attractive I would probably love HK so much I’d move here tomorrow. So maybe it’s a good thing that these women don’t turn me on. I’ve actually thought about what would have happened if HK was populated by women who looked like they were from Sweden. I’d be so stupid in love with this place I fear what I would do. Again, for my own sanity, it’s probably a good thing the Swedish chicks are safely far away in a feministic, socialist country I would never consider living in.
This all being said, there are some hot women here; they just aren’t Chinese. I’ve seen some very hot European, Russian, Brazilian, South American, and mixed women here. It’s also true that when you see a white woman here, the odds of her being a turbo-hottie are much higher than in any Western “white” country. The problem is that they’re few and far between. This is an Asian nation.
I seriously have no idea how something like daygame, or even online game would work here for a guy like me. I would either have to be very creative or “import” a woman or two from somewhere else. Interesting.
2. The architecture is a mix of dilapidated shit and ultra high-tech. Obviously I spent time in the high-tech areas. I worked for a few days in the ICC, the newest and tallest building in HK and the ninth tallest in the world. Here was the view from my office:
In their newer office buildings, the elevators have no buttons, inside or out:
Instead, if you have business in the building you’re issued an ID card that has your information and floor numbers logged. When you go to the elevator, you wave the card over a reader and the elevator is summoned and takes you directly the floor you need to go. You never need to press a button or even worry about where the office is; the computer takes care of it all. If you have any question or trouble, there are smartly-dressed staffers present in every lobby who leap to help you.
At the malls, and HK is jam-packed with the most massive, extensive, mazelike malls you’ve ever seen, if you get lost, you can touch a screen on a wall and a live person on the other end can help you and answer all of your questions.
In several of the meeting rooms I used, the walls were glass, but at a press of a button they would be instantly opaque.
At 8 pm every night, most of the big skyscrapers on both sides of the harbor change colors, light up, and shoot lasers in the sky in a synchronized light show, complete with music and narration. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and it’s a normal thing here in HK.
All of this stuff is light-years beyond anything we have in the US, and HK has been like this for years.
3. The food is the best in the world. Let me say that again. It’s the best in the world. You haven’t tasted amazing food if you’ve never been to HK. Hong Kong has more restaurants per capita than any city on Earth. Like any major city, you can find food of any type. Unlike any major city, the food (of any type) is awesome beyond belief. The dim sum here is second to none; melts in your mouth. The pizza here is as good as or better than anything you’d find in New York. The sushi is authentic-Japan quality, if not better.
During this month-long Asia trip I’ve suspended my Carb Nite diet and switched to my usual travel diet, which is “two big salads every day plus a snack, plus one cheat day per week,” which added with all the walking I’m doing (many hours a day) is more than enough to keep my weight loss going.
The trouble is “salad” is not a thing you find much of in Asia. There are plenty of places to get a salad in HK, but you have to hunt for it. It’s been a bitch. My dim sum and pastries on my cheat day last Friday made up for it though. I ate my cheat-day dinner at the famous floating restaurant where John Wayne and the Queen of England used to eat:
While there you can dress up as ancient Chinese emperors with those shiny gold and red robes. During my dinner, a bunch of Russians got drunk, dressed up in the robes, and (badly) sang loud drunken Russian songs, embarrassing the Chinese patrons and employees. Soon they were laughing way too loud and hitting on the Chinese waitresses. I was swaying back and forth in my chair with a smile on my face to their horrible songs and clapped whenever paused.
One of their Chinese guests was sitting at the table across from me. She leaned over and apologized for them.
“Very sorry,” she said in broken English, “Too much drink. Russians. Very sorry.”
I smiled and motioned that no apology was necessary. “I am USA,” I said, “They are my brothers. Let them sing.”
Us Alphas gotta support each other, you know? We’re a dying breed (though probably not in Russia).
4. The islands here are beautiful. Hong Kong is pretty much a big island (Hong Kong Island) and a peninsula (Kowloon), but there are actually many other rural islands in this micro-country, and I’ve been to many of them.
On this trip I hit Lantau and Lamma so I could get my nature fix. In the third pic you can see one of the largest Buddhas in the world (Tian Tan) in the distance.
5. The culture here is fast-paced, organized capitalistic chaos. The people are well-dressed and physically fit. There are no obese people here. Seriously. You have to walk around for a day or two just to find one.
Anything here is for sale, and I mean anything. Not only do you have these massive malls (many of which are the size of small towns) but every few feet on the ground floor of every street building is a new shop selling everything from electronics to duck feet.
There’s also the infamous Nathan Road, the main drag in Tsim Sha Tsui (the densely-populated peninsula across from the island). This street has been taken over by a horde of Indian (or perhaps Pakistani) bastards who will verbally assault any white person they see, screaming “Watch!? Handbag!? Suit!?” and trying to shove a business card in your face. As you walk down the street, you’ll be harrowed like this every 30 seconds. I’m not exaggerating. Every 30 seconds. It’s a jarring experience the first time it happens. Most white folks who spend time in HK just avoid Nathan Street for this reason, but this time around my hotel was on the street, so I had to put up with it.
I just ignored them every time they bugged me, and this worked fine. Twice one of the guys got aggressive and actually put his arm in front of me as I was walking. I just bashed it out of the way with my shoulder and kept moving. Not a big deal.
Hey, at least it’s capitalism. I never said capitalism was pretty. I just said it’s better than socialism, because it is. With this capitalism vs. socialism thing, like with monogamy vs. OLTRs, we’re not talking about good or bad, we’re talking about least-bad. I’ll take a street I have to avoid over an authoritarian government with high taxes any day. Hong Kong has a 17% flat tax and one of the best school systems in the world. Capitalism works.
Unlike in mainland China, where I’m usually the only white guy around, white people and those of other non-Asian races are very common in HK. I’ve been seeing so many white people around that I think there are more white people in HK than there was when I first started visiting here 10 years ago. Could be my imagination, but I don’t think so.
As is usually the case, these white people are not Americans. They’re usually Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders, and occasionally Russians. I’ve been here almost a week now and I’ve only run into two other Americans. The stereotype of Americans not liking to travel outside of their country is very true.
When I spent time off the beaten track, in more “suburban” (for HK) areas, I was indeed the only white person around, so the international people do tend to congregate in the main areas (Tsim Sha Tsui and Central district). When I ventured outside of these areas, I did get some people staring at me, mostly from children and old people. “What the hell is that big white man doing here?”
The most common race here besides Chinese are Filipinos, who are essentially the the Mexicans of Asia, often employed as maids and janitorial staff. Wealthier Indians are also common here. (As an unrelated side note, I’m very saddened to see how pacified little Indian boys are. EVERY time I see an Indian family, anywhere in the world, and I mean EVERY time, the daughters are smiling and happy but sons look terrified, always silent, always looking down, like they’re about to be slapped. I’m starting to think that Indian culture is the worst culture on Earth for raising men. Perhaps a topic for a future blog post; it’s really bad.)
They don’t have the sexual imagery here in Hong Kong that they do in countries like the US or Japan. There is no obsession with boobs, cleavage, butts, hips, or lips here. In the ads that feature pretty girls, you just see that, cute pretty girls who are smartly dressed and smiling. They value beauty here more than sexuality. My own American Societal Programming wants to see more sexuality, but I guess focusing on beauty isn’t a bad thing either.
6. The transportation is shockingly efficient and incredibly cheap if you’re accustomed to Western currency. A taxi can take you clear over to the other side of the city for less than $10 USD. Try that in any Western city. The subways, ferries, and buses are even cheaper than that.
Riding by bus here is actually a nicer experience than riding in a taxi. Most buses here are double-decker (like in England) but clean, plush, quiet, high-tech, and everyone gets their own super-cold air conditioner unit above every seat (like in an airplane, but colder). I try to travel by bus whenever I can, since you can see so much of your surroundings and in greater comfort than in a taxi. A bus ride in Hong Kong is just as entertaining as watching a good movie (for me at least).
7. The weather, as is so often the case, is a serious problem, and the second biggest downside with this country outside of its women. It’s hot and humid. Not horrible humid, but humid enough where if you’re walking around at least a little bit outside, you’ll have to take at least two showers a day. In the summer it’s so hot even people who live here and love it feel like going insane. I’ve never visited HK during the summer and never will. As always when I travel internationally, I only travel during the months of Sept-Nov or March-April. However, even doing that won’t help you escape the humidity unless you get lucky.
Even in late October, it’s in the mid-80s here (that’s Fahrenheit, cuz I’m an American) which means it feels like mid-90s because of the damn humidity. I always wonder when I visit high-humidity places, “Do people like being sweaty and sticky all day, most of the year?” It’s fascinating. I guess living in the Pacific Northwest USA makes me spoiled.
The pollution here is about as bad as Los Angeles used to be back in the 1990s, but not nearly as bad as a horrible city like Beijing. Hong Kong has been improving this slowly, since people are complaining. This is a good thing, since local environmental quality is one of the few things government should actually enforce.
8. The size and complexity of Hong Kong is staggering, and even after coming here for many years I’m still not accustomed to it. The entire massive city is covered with (on the ground and above the ground) and has underneath it (underground) a mind-boggling amount of complex passages, walkways, skyways, and tunnels, attaching most of the buildings to all the adjacent buildings, and at various floors and levels. The entire city is one massive maze. No other city I’ve ever visited has anything like this.
A really fun nerd project would be to map all of these tunnels and walkways. Now that would be a feat.
9. How the people compare to mainland China. Hong Kong people are racially Chinese, but they are not of China. There are clear differences.
The biggest difference is that they don’t speak Chinese here. When Westerners say “Chinese” in reference to the language, they mean Mandarin. Here in HK they speak Cantonese, which sounds completely different. Mandarin is a choppy language full of “ong” and “shr” sounds. Cantonese is vowel-based language, where seemingly every other word ends with a long “aaaahh” sound, making it sound very much like Vietnamese. Unfortunately, that means that Cantonese is going to sound silly or even irritating to most Westerners (though not as bad as Vietnamese). I find Mandarin interesting-sounding, but Cantonese is just weird. I’m accustomed to it now, but don’t assume that Hong Kongers sound anything like mainland Chinese. They don’t.
Hong Kong folks are much more refined and classy than their mainland cousins. In mainland China, as I’ve talked about before, everyone swears, yells, screams, honks, spits, talk way too loudly into their cell phones, and all kind of other crap. You won’t see any of this stuff in Hong Kong. HK people are classy, sophisticated, and polite, even much of the lower-class ones.
I could go on and on about Hong Kong but I have more things to get to.
Next up, Singapore…