I’m trying to recount the highlights of the past week, so excuse my grouping-everything-into-one-post laziness here. Last Saturday we were blessed with some very nice weather (22 and sunny!) so a group of us exchange students decided to check out Monkey Hill, Kam Shan Country Park, in northern Kowloon where macaques run around and attack people who feed them.
I thought it would be a nice stroll along a paved path, just with monkeys everywhere. Apparently I did not receive the memo about a 4-hour hike up and down a mountain. With a lot of stairs. And narrow pathways which were essentially cliffsides. I wore jeans and a thin sweater. Subsequently, I was sweating my ass off by mid-afternoon. Though I must say the scenic vistas made up for it.
Our first monkey encounter was when we just got off the bus. The monkeys are not scared of humans at all, so it’s quite easy to get close to them. Near the beginning of the hiking trail, our path was blocked by two monkeys having a moment, one picking bugs off the other. I wanted to observe for a bit, so I watched them. They stared back and suddenly one hissed at me. I prepared to make a run for it, and it actually grabbed my pant leg. Thankfully it let go and I jogged ahead towards our group. This didn’t really help instill confidence that I wouldn’t die a monkey-related death, but I was more preoccupied with making sure I didn’t fall off the path edge (fear of heights anyone?).
The area is also home to some reservoirs, and we hiked up to one of them. There were a lot of families enjoying picnics/BBQs up there, and some seriously amazing views.
After monkeying, we took a minibus to Tsuen Wan for dinner, some snacks, and headed home. On Sunday I decided it was finally time to get cracking on homework and the sorts. Janice rounded up some girls and we got McDonald’s delivery. You can find a detailed review of our epic meal on her HK food blog (do not view if you are hungry). I got a quarter pounder and it tasted pretty much the same as back home.
Last Wednesday I made the decision to move to Starr Hall, another student residence at HKU. Back in November when Housing notified me that I was assigned to Patrick Manson, I knew right away it would be shitty. So I wrote an email to the person in charge, asking if I could be put into a Hall, but they replied saying everything was full. One thing to know about HKU Halls is that it is a competitive process. Many first-years live in halls, but if you want to continue living in one, you are required to join at least 2-3 clubs/sports teams and participate in all Hall activities (exchange students are exempt but are encouraged to participate). Therefore, Hall space is extremely coveted, and it is quite the commitment to live in one.
About two weeks ago, I received an email telling me that a vacancy had opened up at Starr. It wasn’t that I hated it at PM – in fact, I had made friends there and was comfortably settled in. Also, there was a lot more freedom. In the Halls, you are required to sign any visitors in, and they are not allowed to stay past 11pm. I liked the ‘chill’ atmosphere of PM. The entire building was exchange students so there’s never any feelings of isolation, and everyone’s goal was to have as much fun as possible.
However, my 6-course load (+3 tutorials) made it a pain in the ass to bus to school everyday. Also, the CONSTRUCTION. Every freaking morning around 9am (even Sundays!!!), you can hear construction workers jackhammering away. They were literally right outside my window, and I knew it would last the entire term. Although they were just doing their job, it drove me crazy. Also at PM, things like eating out and grocery shopping were not convenient. You’d think that local businesses would try to capitalize on an area with at least 4 large student residences, but you actually have to walk quite a while to find food, and groceries are simply impossible without taking a bus. So these inconveniences coupled with my curiosity about Hall life prompted me to take the offer and move to Starr, a 5-minute walk from campus, situated right beside a cafeteria, and 10 minutes from groceries.
It was a sad night when I moved, but so far I’ve been enjoying it here. I don’t have a roommate yet, but she will be officially moving in on Tuesday. Since it is a newer Hall, the rooms and facilities are all much nicer and cleaner. You’re probably falling asleep by now, so to compensate for having this long, boring post, LOOKIT!! PHOTOS!! (Sorry for the graininess; my camera sucks.)
And then to commemorate the move-in, we had 3am dim sum (once again, Janice has my laziness covered – thanks), because why the hell not? I must note that I almost cried tears of joy when I had the fried milk. The T&T one back home doesn’t even hold a candle.