Playing Chic Ex-Pat

Hong Kong Travel Blog

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On Saturday I moved in with David (whom I met in XingPing), who generously offered to let me stay at his place for a few days.  David lives in Soho, in Central Hong Kong, and wow does location make all the difference.  Soho is like ex-pat central, and feels like a combination New York & LA: downtown and urban yet laid back and too cool for school.  I felt right at home.

We met a bunch of his friends around the corner for coffee, and I immediately fell in love with all of them.  For starters, David hangs out with a beautiful group of people.  On top of them all being rail thin and gorgeous (oh, to be a model!), they couldn’t have been more friendly or welcoming to me.  They were all transplants themselves (Australia, Canada, and the States being represented among them), and had lived in HK for a range between four and eight years.
  Each of them had traveled quite a bit, and lived and worked in various parts of the world.  Hmm, let’s see: beautiful, friendly, interesting, well-traveled, and hip as can be -- I was SMITTEN.  Girl crushes on the whole lot.

I wanted to stay hanging out and chatting with my new crushes, and tag along to bowling and dinner and essentially crown myself as their groupie.  And even though I reeeeally didn’t want to, I tore myself away and met Sandra to trek out to Lantau again to see the big buddha.  Lantau’s buddha is the world’s largest sitting buddha.  It’s pretty big.  Despite there being a monastery and a temple, I couldn’t help feeling like we were in Disneyland.
  You take a cable car over water and tree-covered hills and beautiful scenery, and arrive in a little “town” with souvenir and snack shops, with music playing and cotton candy vendors (cotton candy? really?) and little kids whining for their parents to buy them balloons.  It’s so clean and western and cartoon-y, it really does feel like Disneyland.  I don’t understand what that kind of atmosphere is doing around a buddha and a monastery, but there you have it.  Having not yet visited a buddha or a temple, Sandra was quite impressed.  The incense, the colors, the monks -- you name it.  She was exclaiming the whole way.  From the buddha we waited in line for AGES to catch a cable car back, and then finally trained into the city.

I passed an H&M on my walk back to David’s and popped in to snag a pair of jeans, because I was told by EVERYONE to leave the jeans at home, that they’re too hot when you don’t want to be hot but somehow not hot enough when you need to be hot and take ages to dry and so on and so forth.  Yeah, well, when you’re traveling through cities and you walk around in your backpacker gear, you stick out like a sore thumb.  And while I hate looking like a bum and I always want to defend myself to others “I don’t usually look like this! I know how to make myself presentable! I hate these pants more than you do! I swear!,” I’ve always dealt with it and said who cares, you’re traveling, it’s ok to look like a man.  But city after city after city started to grate on me, and then hanging out with David and his well-groomed friends, I couldn’t take it anymore.
  (My roommate and my cousin totally see where this is going.)

For those of you who need a lesson in Meg shopping, this is how it goes: once the purse strings are open, they are OPEN.  I think I get it from my dad.  If I’m swiping that credit card, I may as well make it worth my while.  Which means I refrain from shopping at all costs.  Sure, I go into stores all the time.  But I look critically at everything, and try not to so much as try something on.  Sometimes, even if I do try something on, I can hold out.  But once something strikes my fancy… oh baby.  (I once bought eight dresses in under two hours.  I am not shitting you.)  In Meg World, there are about two or three of these “oh baby” shopping extravaganzas per year.
  I’m known for them.

I can feel my mom cringing from here.  No, I didn’t go crazy.  Well, I suppose that’s relative.  But I did buy heaps more than I anticipated (SOP), and couldn’t be happier with my purchases.  A pair of jeans, a couple of t-shirts (I’m STILL pissed about my favorite go-to shirt being taken in Beijing), a simple dress, ballet flats, and some cheap accessories.  Add those to the shorts and layering piece I snagged a couple days before, and you’ve got a new wardrobe.  STOKED.

I’m not sure if that makes me shallow or vain or both, but the bottom line means I feel better about myself when I step out in a metropolitan area.  Suddenly I am a PERSON, and not a cheap dirty backpacker, to whom no one gives the time of day.  I plan to keep the new nicer clothes as my “reserve” for the big cities, and maintain the backpacker gear for the day-to-day.  It’s just nice to know I have options.  Now to figure out how to get it all in my pack.  Oof.
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