Entry One: Day 1 and 2

Vienna to London and on to Hongkong

Bold words point at a picture on this page

As I embark on my journey... - those were the words I wanted to start with ever since I decided to write about my trip around the world and to publish this diary and my photos on the Internet. But now that I sit here in Hong Kong and already "embarked on my journey", it doesn't strike me as such a good beginning anymore.

Anyway, I started my trip two days ago in Vienna. My flight to London took off from Vienna International Airport at 7:50 am. About two hours later I landed in Heathrow.

Now I had to wait for five (!) hours for my next air transport to Hong Kong. But to my surprise the time went by quickly and all of a sudden I found myself on board a Boeing 747 to Asia - "Asia?" - wow, that's a first for me: I have never before been more east or more south: the most eastern point I have ever been to was Athens, the most southern point Puerto Rico, the most western point San Francisco, and the most northern point London.

When the plane landed in Hong Kong early the next morning, the city left already several impressions on me:

After I got my luggage and stepped outside to get a taxi, I realized something: it is hot! From a board I validated my own observation: it has 32 degrees Celsius (that's 90F) and a humidity of 75%.

On my way to my friend Yi's apartment I had my first close-up of the city. There are complete dumps next to amazing skyrises, bamboo is used in construction (see next entry), and taxi drivers try to stiff you anywhere in the world.

As Yi was not at home, I left my stuff with the concierge, got into shorts and started my first walk around. To get down to the financial district I had to use the central-mid-levels escalators which were build to make a commute from the top of the hill to the bottom easier and faster. The escalators are running down in the morning to bring people to work and are running up in the evening to bring them back home - pretty handy!

Most of the parts of Hong Kong are as I imagined them:

One thing that I would have like to record was the smell of this city: it goes from absolutely disgusting to very delightful withing two steps: the smell of sewer follows the inviting smell of a Chinese restaurant. I have never experienced something like that.

I also come across a computer store who attracts their customers by offering free Internet access on the street - how's that for customer service?.

After two hours my jetlag started to remind me that I should go back and see if my friend is back yet. Luckily he was and I get a well-deserved shower. Yi lives in the best part of town. He tells me that his company is paying 4,000 USD for his two bedroom apartment - yes you read right: 4,000.

We had dinner at a Thai restaurant called Chilli Club in Wan Chai - great spicy food. Then Yi showed me his office in the Asian Pacific Building. He is an intern for a major investment bank. From some of the office we have a great view over the bay and the buildings in Hong Kong.

Back in his apartment I just fell asleep and woke up 11 hours later. Today it's Sunday and it's raining in Hong Kong.

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