After spending so much time in Taipei, I naturally use it as my yardstick for other cities. I always thought it was easy being a foreigner in Taiwan, but Hong Kong is Westerner paradise—EVERYTHING is in English, so I didn’t have to break out my shoddy Mandarin to point at menu pictures. Even as a confused tourist, getting around was a (theoretical) breeze. It’s my own fault that I can’t see or read road signs—but hey, this gave me 95% more opportunities to be offered massages.
And such diversity! In Taiwan you can go the day without seeing a foreigner, but I couldn’t tell you how many languages I heard in Hong Kong. Causeway Bay was a great base for exploring town, and I did the obligatory tram to The Peak, plus a quiet afternoon trip to Chi Lin Nunnery and the Nan Lian gardens. I sat down to get some writing done, but the security guard said “using that device is not suitable.” Oh well! Instead, I parked at fun cafes, and spent a day coworking at The Hive, which is across the street from a fabulous Indian vegetarian restaurant (Khana Khazana). Give me writing time and a spicy curry, and I’m a happy girl.
Certain parts of Hong Kong are so similar to areas in Taipei, but I think I prefer Taiwan for the long haul. Hong Kong may be more foreigner-friendly by nature, but Taiwan is actually friendly, and Taiwanese people are much more polite than their HK counterparts. In the overall atmosphere of chaos, I think I’d lose it if I had to deal with that level of line cutting and pushing every day. Plus, my empirical evidence suggests that the milk tea in Taiwan is better than the Milk Tea in Hong Kong–and I am the expert on such things.
Even though I was only in town for a handful of days, I had a blast and got tons of work done. Now I better stop blogging and finish my next novella before I get in trouble : )