What could be better than starting your day with a pancake breakfast? Handmade by a Tajik-Russian secondyear?! Last night I was invited for pancake breakfast in the day room of Block 4 by my Turkish secondyear Cengiz and his friend Malika. It was delicious and the more time passed, the more people came. We sat down on the couches in the dayroom spread nutella and peanut butter on the warm pancakes and just enjoyed this delicious treat in the morning.
After the great breakfast with many more new second- and firstyears that we met, Cengiz took Belce and me on a little tour through the city. We went to the metro station, Cengiz got the tickets for us and then took a ride to the Mall which is just two stations away. Cengiz showed us around, told us about the different shops, the best restaurants and where to get our needs. He wanted to treat us with Bubble tea, however after discovering that the Bubble Tea counter was still closed, we decided to go and have Frozen Yogurt the Hong Kong way… it was closed as well… same for the mango Drink store that Cengiz wanted us to try. The mall was connected to a second mall (both are huge) through a glass tunnel over the road. Belce and me were both impressed by the architecture and the organization of the road and housing complexes that were all connected to the shopping center.
To show us a rather different way of “shopping” Cengiz took us to the “wet market” which was hidden under the mall. He told us that the “wet market” is a traditional fresh food market, that is most frequently visited by older Hong Kongers, those with lower incomes, and domestic helpers (mostly Indonesians who work as housekeepers). The term “wet market” comes from the extensive use of water in the markets. Ir is used to wash the floors, keep the fruits and vegetables fresh, and keep fish and shellfish alive, and truly there was a lot of water. The first stop was a traditional pharmacy that was selling dried goods, flowers, and different kinds of dried animals and mushrooms as well. The market was crowded and had a quite different smell that you eventually got used to after walking through it for a while. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw that most stalls were selling live animals out in the open. We saw fish in small tanks or big plates with water, reptiles with tied limbs, crabs and much more. Besides that fresh (exotic) fruit and vegetables were also available. There were also butcher shops with fresh meat hanging from the walls and the ceiling, presenting it in a quite eyecatching way. We walked through the wet market, looking at everything, learning about the different stalls and receiving tips from our secondyear. There were little shops selling different kinds of noodles and dim-sum as well, all of them crowded and filled with people who were standing in line. After walking through the mall, strolling through the “Wet Market” and seeing the presentation of the goods left quite an impression on us. It was great to see the contrasts. On our way back to school Cengiz bought us garlic noodles, a Hong Kong specialty. We walked through a park by the shore. The view was wonderful!
After coming back to school we found out that some of the second-year’s were planning to take us to swim in a waterfall!! Cengiz showed us the school cantine and after that Belce and me immediately rushed to the dorms, getting our bikinis and towels ready. The waterfall was not that far from the school. We walked about 10 minutes by the road and then hiked up a tiny trail through the woods. The nature and all the green was stunning. on our way up to the waterfall the second-years told us more about the Quan Cais and about places to see in Hong Kong. After being soaking wet from the humidity we finally arrived on the waterfall! It was beautiful. We took offf our shirts, jumped off the walls of the dam that were holding back the water and enjoyed the cool water (30 m deep!!) It was a short swim to the actual waterfall and we all squished on top of the stones that were right under the stream that was running down. It felt like a back massage! The water was great and we all couldn’t believe that we were just swimming by a waterfall! It was like a movie scene. The scnery was breathtaking: big clouds over the mountains and the waterfall running right through them.
When we got back to scool we had just enough time to take a shower and get ready for dinner. You will read more about that in my next post!