Orientation Week Day 3: Victoria Peak

Today was a quite calm day. It was still raining a lot and thus the camping trip that was supposed to be today was canceled. After breakfast every overseas student from Block 3 was called to the academic block, where we filled out the applications for our Hong Kong ID card that allows us to use public services in Hong Kong. Jason, who supervised us while doing so and assisted us with the different fields on the form, turned out to be our Mandarin ab initio teacher! With a big smile on his face, he told us we will suffer in his class, which we first thought was a joke, but after a little while we realized that he was quite serious. A little intimated and confused we walked to the bus that was supposed to take us to the Immigration Department. It was the first time we got to see the busier parts of Hong Kong and the more time passed in the bus, the more skyscrapers appeared beside us, covering the entire landscape. I tried to imagine how many people must be living in them. After arriving at the Immigration Department Jason gave us our passports and forms together with our line number. We sat down on the little blue chairs, staring at the screen that was showing the line numbers and their designated interview stalls. Interviews?! Yes! We had to give two interviews. The first one was quite standard and was done by one of the representatives from the Immigration Department: Is it your first time in Hong Kong? After taking a thumbprint  and a photo it was time to move to the next interview. The second one (with the police was) not more exciting: So you are a student? Yes. And then I was done, grabbing my papers and happily walking back to the waiting room. It was wonderful to see all the different passports and have to admit that, compared to the other passports, the German one looks quite boring. I absolutely love the Spanish passports, which have wonderful illustrations of different animals and the world map on the pages inside. The first page shows a Spanish sailing ship. The passports from the Zimbabwe look great as well, they are decorated with African animals and a beautiful writing.

As soon as everybody had passed their interviews and received their temporary Hong Kong ID, we toured around in the mall for a little while and talked about our Quan Cai choices, before getting back in the bus. We arrived on campus just half an hour before the departure for the next trip: Victoria Peak. The peak is the highest point on Hong Kong island, and the view over the skyscrapers makes it one of the most famous attractions. We quickly ran up to the rooms, packed our bags and rain jackets and then walked back to the gate, where two big coaches were waiting for us. After being split into groups, each supervised by one second-year, we boarded the busses and started our thirty minute journey to Victoria Peak. Since we would not be able to come back before dinner time, we received sandwiches, bananas and juice. A historic tram took us up to the peak in an angle of almost 45 degrees. The tram rails run through the free spaces between the skyscrapers, making them slide extremely close past the window.

 

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The weather was awful- rainy, misty, windy and cloudy – yet the view over Victoria harbor from the peak was still breathtaking. I cannot imagine how wonderful it must be when the sun is shining! We stayed on the panoramic platform for a while, enjoying the mysterious view, taking lots of photos and then went inside one of the malls (yes, there are shopping centers on the peak – our Hong Kong friends calls them “tourist traps” due to the extreme prices) to get ice cream. After finding out that our bus that was supposed to take us back to the school was late, we went to another panoramic view point to enjoy the view at night. I was speechless. Hong Kong is surely one of the most stunning cities at night, with skyscrapers so tall that their lights even illuminate the big clouds passing by, causing them to look quite apocalyptic. Hong Kong is dazzling galaxy of light. Especially the little boats that were lit up looked so wonderful with their reflections shimmering in the water.

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On the way back to school, most of us fell asleep in the bus and we were all surprised to find out that it was not even 9:30 when we arrived at LPC. The day ended with a little work out. Miranda, Michelle, Natalie and me decided to go to the gym to 1. see it and 2. work out a little. We put on our sports shoes and clothes, grabbed the water bottles and walked to the gym. When we heard the loud music blasting through the door without even opening it we felt a little intimidated. But after seeing that not only boys, but also one girl was working out, we decided to do so as well. It was great and we felt incredibly happy and accomplished after about 40 minutes. Hopefully we will keep up this new routine of working out in the evenings!