- Hong Kong is a city of scents. New scents meet you where ever you go. On the streets, in the markets, in the subways, in the restaurants.
Not always pleasant, though.
- You are rarely harassed by street peddlers in Hong Kong (except in the tourist infested Tsim Sha Tsui). Not even in the street markets, where the hawkers ignores you until you pick something up.
The contrast was startling when we crossed the border into China and the city of Shenzhen. The Mongolian Horde (or at least a bunch of Chinese men) came down on us like, well, the Mongolian Horde!
- Banking is so different here from in Sweden:
- In Sweden, you can use any ATM. Not so here. Our bank here is HSBC, and we can only use ATMs belonging to HSBC and Hang Seng.
- Checks. We got checks! We haven't seen checks in Sweden since the late eighties.
- Paying your invoices. Done by check. Or in the utility companies shops. Or at seven-11. Not online using a centralized money transfer system as in Sweden.
- MasterCard/Visa debit cards are basically unheard of. They are credit cards.
- Eating at restaurants:
- Don't expect the starter to come in before the main dish! The order is random.
- In most restaurants the guests are expected to share the dishes.
- Tips are not expected. There is often a service charge added to the bill.
- The front and interior of the restaurant give no hint at all on what the food will taste like. We have had some of our best meals in places that seemed to be in serious need of an uplift.
- Food court restaurants and restaurants at tourist attractions can be really, really good!
- It's traditional to serve warm water to drink at Chinese restaurants. Quite a surprise the first time.
- Many restaurants and shops are not located at ground floor but instead you can find them several floors up or in the basement. And the signing is often difficult to see. So bend your neck and look upward.
- Bus routes numbering are obviously meant to confuse. The same number can be used by any number of routes, even routes running in the same area. And to make things even worse: Not all bus stops have signs. You're supposed to know where to stand and wait for your bus. And you have to flag it down. or it will just go by without picking anyone up.