Hello, Hong Kong!

Hi team!  I'm back.  Do you remember me?  It has been a second.  I'm coming at you from Hong Kong, which is weird for several reasons, not least because it means I am living 13 hours in the future.  Or something like that.  Call me if you want a news tip or anything.  Spoiler:  Trump is still the President Elect in 13 hours.  Sorry.

You're probably thinking "whoa, Maddy that's so cool.  Why are you in Hong Kong?"  The answer is I LITERALLY HAVE NO IDEA.  I've always wanted to come here...so in classic form I came for 5 freaking months.  I'm doing an exchange semester between HKU and UNC, so I'm here with about 300 other students from around the world.  I will be taking classes in a variety of subjects but DANG if I don't get some kind of direction soon I am gonna lose my mind! As I'm writing this, classes haven't started yet.  For the first time in my life, I'm actually looking forward to school.  Who am I?

But you're not here to read my poorly thought out musings on how weird it is to study abroad!  You're definitely hoping for some dank food pics and I am here to provide them.  I'm residing in Kennedy Town, which is an area of Hong Kong that is simultaneously super traditional and super modern.  There are tiny dim sum shops where no one speaks English, right next door to very Western restaurants and bars and coffee shops.

Above is the entrance to the Smithfield Market & Cooked Food Centre.  Apparently there are these Cooked Food Centers (also known as dai pai dong) all over the city, but this one is right at the bottom of the hill on which I live.  It has three floors - one with meat and seafood, one with clothing and produce and one that is rather like a food court - prepared foods from lots of individual stalls.

I saw a variety of people there - from couples with young children, all the way to quite elderly folks - all doing what seemed to be their weekend grocery shopping.  I was most attracted to the heaps of beautiful produce, since it is difficult to get enough vegetables in restaurants here.  The main grocery store chain here is called Wellcome, and they have a huge variety of products, but the prices at the centre were generally a lot lower than what I saw at the chain stores.

The exchange rate here is 8 HKD to 1 USD which makes it pretty challenging to know how much anything costs. Also brightly colored money is basically play money so I truly have no concept of a dollar except that WHY IS COFFEE HERE SO EXPENSIVE? No one is sure.  Obviously I've had some otherwise I probably wouldn't be screaming into the Internet abyss.

You guys, I've got to be honest.  Hong Kong is weird.  It is really different from anywhere else I've ever been.  I've never been to an Asian city before, so, like, duh.  But the thing that is weird about is the proximity of things that are often at odds in other places.  The confluence of East and West that has happened in Hong Kong happens on every street corner - not on different streets or neighborhoods.  It is wild to go from feeling like I could be in the US one moment, to feeling so far away the next.  

I'm living in a dorm with an almost completely useless kitchen, so there will probably be limited recipes coming your way in the next few months.  I'm going to loosen this place up a bit and we'll see what happens.  Dumplings, however, are guaranteed.  Thanks for stopping by.