Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hong Kong

I recently went to Hong Kong for the International Studies Association's (ISA) 2017 International conference.  I didn't know what to expect, I didn't do much prep for the trip but it was fantastic.

 The first exciting part of the trip was the Helsinki airport!  They have a Moomin shop.  Moomin's are super awesome white hippo creatures.  The kids love the cartoons that are available on youtube.

 I got the kids some figurines, they were a bit pricey but how could I pass on Moomins?

 I flew from Tallinn to Helsinki and then from Helsinki to Hong Kong.  The Helsinki-Hong Kong flight was 9.5 hours one way and then 10.5 the other.  We flew over Russia and Mongolia, very good connection.

For some of you 10 hours on a plane sounds like a long time but no, it was heaven.  10 hours on a plane is long only if you have two toddlers with you.  With no toddlers I just watched movies, read, and did work.  On the way back I even slept a little!  I loved the new Beauty and the Beast movie.  I also loved the founder.  It is an incredible movie about the beginning of McDonalds.  Much much better than it sounds.

 I went to the conference with Ada and Tajzan who are both graduate students at Tallinn University.  We flew together from Helsinki to Hong Kong. It was super fun to travel with them.  They stayed a few days longer and went to Disneyland and a big Budda temple. 

 In the Hong Kong airport they had a temperature check.  They pressed a test thing on the forehead of random people and also had this check point.  Probably a result from SARS and the Asian bird flue scares of the 2000's.

 This is a picture of the Hong Kong airport when I was flying out. 

 In the airport going home I saw a Disney store!  It was hard to not get anything. I definitely want to take the kids to Hong Kong Disneyland at some point in the future. 

 Lynne had told me that they had 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, and they have them in Hong Kong too!

I was surprised to see Moomins in Hong Kong too! 
 The taxis looked like this.

 There are some very green lush mountains in Hong Kong, the main part of the city is just a concrete jungle.  What surprised me the most was the small footprint that the buildings had.  In New York or other big cities the size of the buildings is huge, but in Hong Kong it would be a small tiny building but it would still be 25 or 30 stories high.

This is the view from my hotel window, I was on the 27th floor!

 This is a classic example of a small and tall apartment building.

Hong Kong has a real estate crisis right now.  Too much demand and not enough supply.  Recently a parking spot sold for $664,000!  That is US dollars!  The trend is towards micro apartments (like the one I had in Brussels).  Here is a great article that discusses micro apartments in Hong Kong. 

The people were quite a bit smaller in the US.  This is a sign from a normal sized elevator.  In the US it would probably be 8-12 people. 

 They had double decker trams!  This one was advertising a Katy Perry concert.

 This is the Man Mo temple, not too far from where the hotel was.

 Lots of candles inside.

Ada presented on her MA thesis about colonization and decolonization in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  Tajzan presented on the limits of Chinese soft power in the Middle East.  She is from Finland but of Kurdish heritage and wore a Kurdish dress for her presentation!

 They had a Chinese dragon dance to open up the conference.

 This is the main building of the university.

 Those are the university buildings where the conference was at, it was a huge university. 

 My favorite part of the conference was to listen to some big named IR academics.  Steve Chan has a few big books out on US-China relations and Acharya has written a lot on post-Western IR.  Overall there were some really smart people at the conference.

 Yes that really was what my paper was about. 

 A statue sculptor thing at the university. 

 One of the highlights was this incredible out door market.  They had a ton of stuff for pretty cheap.

 They had these foot massage signs everywhere!  They must be popular. 

 I took this one just for all you blog followers!

 I loved the food, they had fruits that I had never seen before and things were just different. 

The only new fruit I tried was dragon fruit, it was good.  

Sometimes I'd find things from America that I can't find in Estonia which is exciting.  Dryers ice cream.

I had a good bowl of noodles with Rice Crispy Treats for lunch one day. 


I found this Snickers milk shake.  It kind of gross.  Do they have these in the US?  They don't have them in Estonia. 

 This was the MVP of the trip.  A little miracle called a "bun".  It is fluffy like wonderbread but also more dense and a little moist.  They fill it with different things, this one was filled with pork.  Just incredible.  I stuffed myself silly with these things on the last night.

 This stand had a good motto- Eat is life.

They have waffles like Brussels, but also had a thing called egglets which are just like waffles, but little connected balls and the balls had filling inside.

They had a lot of red bean flavored food there.  I had never heard of it but I did try the Red Bean ice cream.  It tasted just like it sounds, pretty beany.

 They had an ice cream truck there.

 They had a very interesting combination of smoothies.  I had dragon fruit-Strawberry.

 I saw a fish store that had some pretty crazy things, tons of exotic frogs and a million turtles.  Like millions, tons of turtles. 

That was Hong Kong! Incredible place.  It was the rainy season, but I only got caught a few times in heavy rain.  There was a crazy lightning and thunder storm.  It was also very humid, like walking into a sauna every time I went outside.

There were quite a few things that I didn't get to do.  Hopefully I'll get to go back with the kids, Disneyland will be first on the list!