As always Hong Kong never ceases to introduce me to interesting new people, places, and events. November was a quite a hectic month packed with school work (group projects and studying for tests), dance practice, and archery practice. Between group projects and all the practice I was doing for my organizations it felt as if I was stuck in some sort of constant juggling act. All in all though, the month finished with a bang and gave me quite a few incredible memories that I will never forget.
Before I get into my favorite memories and experiences I would like to offer some quick advice to any of my fellow students who encounter group projects in their future. Now this is common sense but I still feel the need to reiterate the point that the absolute worst thing you can possibly do is procrastinate. If you fall a little behind in a class you can catch up on your own time without anyone bugging you, but if you fall behind on a group project you’ll have about five people ready to remind you. Now multiply five people by four projects and well let’s just say you’ll need some serious patience to avoid having a nuclear meltdown if you start falling behind. So even if you know you can finish your part of the project in a day play it safe and don’t wait until the day before.
I’ll start with my experience as a member of the Dance Society (or DANSO as they abbreviate it), which was an unforgettable one to say the least. I don’t think I have ever been part of an organization so dedicated to a pure passion for something. The amount of practice we had during a week was honestly borderline overwhelming. We would literally practice at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 3 hours each practice. It was interesting because the vast majority of the practice would be conducted in Cantonese, but I was very rarely (if ever) lost or confused. We would usually get out of practice around 10:00 p.m. on a normal night, and sometimes closer to midnight on a long night. As you can imagine, if you start practice at 7:00 p.m. and don’t get out until midnight you’re going to be starving and exhausted at best. All of the practice was for a huge show at the university held on November 28th called the “Mass Dance” where 9 other universities come in to perform in addition to our team. The show lasted about 2 hours and was packed with all kinds of amazing performances, each carrying unique dancing styles and themes from all across Hong Kong. For me it was like a non-stop adrenaline rush as we performed on stage in front of hundreds of people. The performance only lasted eight minutes, but the rush lasted for the rest of the night. If you have time you can check it out for yourself, here is the link to our final performance: http://youtu.be/GAryXFE31hs.
Another two notable memories from the month were the Dragon’s Back hike and the Hong Kong Pride parade. The Dragon’s Back hike is one of the most popular hikes in all of Hong Kong. It’s a relatively short and easy hike (no more than roughly two hours), but the scenery is absolutely incredible (even on a cloudy day like the one I went). I went to the pride parade to support a friend who I had met in Hong Kong. The parade was interesting because even though we are in a completely different part of the world people march for the same reasons. I also went to a rooftop bar called 270 Degrees in the district Causeway Bay with a view of the skyline that was awe inspiring. Everyone may feel differently as they look out over the skyscrapers, but I don’t think anyone could deny that at the very least it’s thought provoking.
As I mentioned a bit earlier I participated in a fair amount of archery club practice during the month of November. I started archery at A&M during my second semester, and upon finding out HKUST had an archery club I was eager to join. On November 30th, I competed in the Biannual Internal Competition for the Archery Club. I had never competed in an archery competition before so I was a bit nervous to say the least. Despite shaky hands at the start though, I’m extremely proud to say that this Aggie took first place for the Maroon and White. For the final score you can go to this link: http://ihome.ust.hk/~su_archy/.
In both of my previous blogs I mentioned some interesting eats that I had found. Well folks, I give you some tasty little fried fishes by the name of shishamo. Now I know at first glance these little guys don’t exactly look like the most delicious thing you could eat, but I must say they actually aren’t all that bad. Now I prefer them with soup instead of rice, but either way they’re an interesting break from the monotony of barbeque pork and rice (a pretty popular meal among exchange students at HKUST). You probably won’t find these in any Chinese restaurant back home, but if you’re ever in Asia (I think they actually originate from Japan) give them a try.
As if the 30th wasn’t exciting enough with the archery tournament, later that day my parents actually came in to visit for a week. In the next blog I’ll talk about my experience playing tour guide for them, and some of the neat new experiences I got to partake in as a result. In December I’ll be going to do some sightseeing in Beijing for about five days, then coming back to Hong Kong to take my one final exam, and finishing out my last week in Asia with a trip to India to complete the Golden Triangle. The cool part is I’ll actually be staying with a friend who lives in Delhi who I met at HKUST, so I’ll be getting a true local experience.