Sudden Trip to Hong Kong (2004-05-17)

We took a sudden trip to Hong Kong last week after hearing KL's mom was in grave condition in the hospital and it could be our last chance to see her.  We arrived in Hong Kong late at night on May 8 and left on the morning of 13th.  We went to see KL's mom Sunday morning expecting the worst.  To everyone's surprise she had actually improved and was no longer in a critical condition.  During our few days in Hong Kong we didn't go to many places except the hospital, Tsimshatsui (where our hotel is), Causeway Bay (to change our HK Smart ID Cards) and Hung Hom.  However I still managed to take quite a bit of photos even though the trip wasn't a sightseeing one, but often times they were taken in a hurry so some of them turned out blurry.  I will be talking about Hong Kong for the next few days, or perhaps the whole week.  If you are a diehard fan of Japan and not interested in HK, you might want to come back later for blogs about Japan again.

The first impression of Hong Kong I got from the moment we landed at the airport was how courteous people were which was not how I remembered Hong Kongers.  Workers in the service industry were extremely polite, smiled all the time and very patient.  The phrase "How may I help you?" could be heard everywhere from small noodle shops to big department stores.  Staff often greeted us with a hearty "Welcome" and bade us "Thank You" upon leaving.  I was shocked at the level of courtesy that was extended to customers.  A public announcement on TV shows a popular actor (Andy Lau) urging shop people to be nice to visitors and denouncing those who aren't.  Looks like the government has done a good job educating its people the virtue of politeness.

When KL and I went to the Immigration Department to change our old HK ID cards into the new Smart ID cards, the staff couldn't be nicer.  The process was fast, hassle-free and free-of-charge.  The officer who dealt with my application went through every detail with me so patiently that he looked like he actually enjoyed his job.  It is a marked difference from the government agencies' staff I used to know in the past or in other countries (except Japan).

The hospital where we went to visit KL's mom was clean, modern and big with friendly staff.  I saw nurses caring for and talking to elderly patients kindly, porters chatting with patients while transporting them in wheelchairs and doctors nodding at visitors.  People on the streets are also nice and helpful.  The two ladies I asked for direction when I was lost were eager to help and never stopped smiling at me.  I was really impressed.  I wouldn't mind living in Hong Kong after we have to leave Japan.  From what I saw and experienced in our short stay there, it already beats many other countries hands down.

To be continued

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