A few more Hong Kong annoyances

Hi there.  It’s me, complaining about Hong Kong again.  I recently posted an entry talking about ten things I hate about Hong Kong and realized afterwards that there should have been more, so here’s some “bonus material” for you.  My wife, who happens to be sitting next to me right now, just called me a “hater,” but I am not, and I promise I will talk about the things I love about Hong Kong in my next post.  I would like to remind readers that I did have two positive posts early on, and despite what I may be leading you to believe, I am actually happy to be living in this city.  I lived in the Middle East for eight years, and you can bet things were a hell of a lot more annoying there.  I just didn’t blog very frequently back then.  Lucky you, Abu Dhabi.

All right, having sufficiently explained myself, let me now go ahead and get the rest of my Hong Kong-related grievances off my chest.

Dripping waters.


One of the really annoying things about walking in Hong Kong is to constantly have to dance around dirty water dripping from the hundreds of thousands of A/C units, balconies and roofs – as if weaving through the human hordes wasn’t challenge enough.  The pattern you see above is caused by a roof that’s shaped like this:


When it should have been built like this:


(Copyright: M. M. Minderhoud)

Makes you wonder how they have missed all the advancements that happened in roof building technology around the world in the past few hundred years.

Sometimes you make a last minute dash at the traffic signal to cross the street, and upon arrival you are greeted by a “wastewaterfall” such as this one, sending drops down your neck:


In such moments, your first reaction is to stop and take a step back onto the street, which could of course spell doom for you, as city buses and taxis tend to drive quite fast here.  If I believed in conspiracy theories I would have said these roofs must be the government’s plan to eliminate the jaywalkers.

Then there is A/C juice (which you can tell by the non-linear pattern of the drops), which might cause a slower and more painful death, since it might be carrying legionnaires’ disease bacteria.


The guy above has just demonstrated yet another downside of “mobile phoning” while walking, a favorite Hong Kong pastime.



Here’s yet another thing to watch out for while walking on busy Hong Kong sidewalks.  I believe that if you live here long enough, you WILL get your leg scraped by a rusty edge of one of these carts.  Especially because the people pushing them usually don’t bother to slow down or keep a safe distance.

Random phone calls every few days.

Whenever I answer the phone these days someone says “sorry, wrong number” in Chinese and hangs up.  It’s usually a number that starts with a 3.  If this was a rare event I would have believed it really was just someone misdialling, but because it’s so frequent I think it’s more like “I have realized you are a foreigner who doesn’t speak Chinese, and because I sell a product that only appeals to Chinese people and/or because salespeople like me can’t speak English I will now hang up on you.  I feel weird hanging up just like that, though, so I’ll tell you a white lie first.”

Meats hanging from hooks, unrefrigerated, in subtropical heat.

So either we have been lied to about the existence of salmonella or parasites, or someone’s about to get really sick tonight.



Another offshoot of the “too many people” problem is the urinals being extremely close to each other in public bathrooms.  There is no way my pee is not splashing on this guy’s foot.  And vice versa.  I am sure you would appreciate that I am not able to provide a photo of this phenomenon, as I did not want to get attacked by someone who could have misunderstood my intentions.


For some reason this town has decided that elevators (or “lifts,” as they call them here, in the British tradition) should not connect the top and bottom floors of buildings.  Maybe – probably – there is a very good reason for that, justifiable through sophisticated calculations done by architects and city planners, but as far as I’m concerned they can stuff those calculations because it’s a pain to always have to change elevators to get to the floor I want.  I live on the seventh floor in my building and I have to first take an elevator to the fifth floor and then change to another one to reach the ground floor.  Why?  It’s ridiculous.  The same thing happens in malls all the time, and that’s more frustrating because the other set of elevators is usually in a different part of the floor and I end up having to fight the crowds trying to find it.  In one of the malls (maybe Hysan Plaza?), to my amazement, they had the nerve to build only one dirty, stinky service elevator and nothing else is accessible from the ground floor, unless you want to take your baby stroller up the escalator (which is dangerous and even forbidden, by the way, according to the stickers they’ve put on the escalators).  So they’re basically saying if you are disabled or have a baby stroller, f u, we don’t give a s*** about you.


GDP/head in Hong Kong is around U.S. $40,000, and yet half the buildings look like this:



Ok, I think I’m finally done with my rant now.  I promise to post a more positive entry next time!



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