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This week’s guest post for the ‘Day-to-Day’ series comes from Marie, a French woman who’s currently working and living in Hong Kong. If you’re an expat and interested in sharing the day-to-day details of your city, shoot me a message at thepaperplanesblog @ gmail.com.
Originally from South France, I now live in Hong Kong. My average day starts with an early wake-up, a jog in the waterfront when the weather is nice (and when my motivation awakened too!), a shower and a cup of tea. As I’m a freelancer, my daily schedule is pretty flexible and, most of the time, I work from home. In Hong Kong, I’m aware that it’s a real luxury to live outside of the crowds..
When I’m not overloaded with work, I usually work from 7-8 am till 3 pm. After that, I love to explore the city. I’ve been strolling around like a tourist for more than a year now, and still enjoy small discoveries –it can be a new hiking trail, a hidden temple or a concept store – anything.
Living in Hong Kong brings me a very different daily routine from my life at home. The best is the public transport. Not only clean and safe, they’re also super stylish! I LOVE to take the double-deck tramway. It’s a real antiquity, born in 1904. I also fancy the Star Ferry cruise from Wan Chai to Kowloon. I lived in Paris for a couple of years, so I’m not used to the public transports as a nice journey. It’s a real pleasure, here.
As Hong Kong is a small city with tiny apartments, lots of people work from cafes. That’s an option I cherish. Working from a fancy industrial cafe, hidden at the end of a narrow street…I find it so inspiring! The Coffee Academics is definitely my favorite spot. I’ve spent hours working there, meeting clients, and drinking liters of tea. The formal client meetings in a bleak meeting room are pretty rare here.
Hong Kong is a great base for entrepreneurs – and it’s not only interesting in terms of tax system. It’s also super dynamic. Hong Kong is a beautiful mix between tradition and modernity. So far, I’ve been working clients from HK, New York, Paris, Delhi, Singapore, London…it’s very rewarding. There is so much to learn from all these different cultures. And even though it’s a city where everything is about networking, people are super friendly and casual. You can be yourself here. No need to force yourself to fit in. At the end, some of my clients became my friends, and some of my friends became my clients. That’s how it works!
Hong Kong is an exciting and mysterious city with a reputation as the New York of Asia. This year, many of my friends and family came to visit. Although I like to discover new places everyday, there is one place I like to go again and again: Din Tai Fung. I bring all my European friends there. It’s one of the cheapest starred Michelin restaurants. They do fabulous dim sum. The dim sum is a style of Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized traditionally served in small steamer bamboo baskets. It’s as cute as it is delicious.
The food in Hong Kong is surprisingly amazing. There is an incredible choice in terms of restaurants, from Italian to Nepalese, Moroccan or even Chilean. When I first arrived here, I tried new stuff almost everyday. Exploring the city by the food ! Since then, I moved to the suburb, so now I cook much more. I got used to cook ingredients I didn’t event know it exists before. My next challenge is to make a real Pad Thai – a delectable recipe from Thailand.
I’m fascinated by this city. It’s traditional and futuristic, old and new, small and wide… It’s so contrasted. It’s unbelievable. Last week, I was invited to a private party in a new hipster club in Soho. Couldn’t find it. I really thought I was lost, then I entered in a tiny dark alley, went up in a building by an old elevator It opened on the 9th floor. I was a-mazed : golden door, mirrors everywhere, electro music and huge terrace in the middle of the urban jungle. Hong Kong will never stop surprising me. Small Chinese temple next to vertiginous skyscrapers, traditional Chinese medicine farmacy behind a Chanel store, oldschool tramways next to Porsches…
The thing I like the most to end my day is to meet my friends in one of the numerous rooftops of the city. From there, I realize the chance I have to live in this wonderful city.
On Wednesdays nights, I like to go for Happy Valley Racecourses. Even though I’m not into the races, I love the atmosphere. Every week, hundreds of people come for an afterwork there, to drink, chat, bet and enjoy the music. The stadium is in the middle of the urban jungle, so the view is quite spectacular.
Hong Kong is far from perfection. It’s polluted, insanely hot and humid in summer, overpopulated and incredibly expensive. But despite that, it’s an amazing place to live as an expat in Asia. The balance between the Asian culture and the quality of life is good and I feel at home here. Actually, I’ve just started joining a Dragon Boat team – a great way to connect with the local culture !
Marie Pottiez is a travel blogger, founder of Miles of Happiness. Curious of everything, she has an unquenchable thirst for discovery and sharing.
Originally from France, she lived in Belgium, New Zealand and Indonesia, before settling down in Hong Kong in 2014. She spends as much time as possible traveling throughout Asia, discovering new pieces of paradise all year long. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, watch her videos on Vimeo and get inspired with her Pinterest.