By Kallen Trachsel
I boarded a plane bound for Hong Kong “yesterday” afternoon. Now, two days later, I am here, ready to explore Hong Kong and Macau.
I was lucky enough to meet an extremely outgoing local, Patrick, on the flight and I bounced my team’s business pitch off of him. Team’s idea: “Let’s bring customer-customized salads to China”. Patrick admitted he had mulled over the idea himself while completing his Bachelor’s degree at Penn State. He immediately made it clear that there is a complete absence of “Sweet Green”-like salad shops in Hong Kong, much less Beijing. His one misgiving about our idea was our current proposed location of launch, Beijing. While Beijing is the “DC equivalent in China in some ways”, he suggested that a city like Shanghai would be much more receptive to the idea of fast food salads due to the international nature of and the high number of expats in the city. I’m sure this bit of advice will make it into our final business pitch at Peking University! Also, Patrick elaborated on the “meal culture” of individuals in China. Chinese opt for in-and-out lunch options, while saving lengthy, formal sit-down dining strictly for dinner time with their families. It sounds like a quick and easy salad chain could be well received in certain cities in China.
With the 16-hour flight under our belts, a few of my classmates and I ventured to our hotel on the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway. It was a “smooth sailing” outdoor metro that connects the airport to three main stops in and around Hong Kong (If only DC had one of these out to Dulles!). Immediately upon arriving at our hotel on the Kowloon Peninsula, we treated ourselves to authentic ramen noodles with shrimp dumplings (can’t beat that) and immediately fell fast asleep.
It is 6 a.m. here now and I am raring to go; traditional lunch in Macau, visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites (like the Ruins of St. Paul and the A-Ma Temple), a drive along Guia Circuit (Loocation of the Macau Grand Prix), and more!
Only a few more days until the rest of our U.S., China, and Israeli team join us in Hong Kong and the AdVenture Challenge: China is officially underway. Let the countdown begin!
I started out my day bright and early – with a high speed ferry to Macau. The ferry was about an hour long, full of locals going to the casinos. All of the locals were teaming with excitement, hopping out of their seats and pushing each other to get a view from the window. Meanwhile, a local woman got seasick next to me and started throwing up. What a way to start a day. Needless to say, it got better quickly. After we went through customs on the Macau end, we visited many stops listed below. Shockingly, the small island of Macau has 43 big casinos and outpaced Las Vegas last year in revenues.
- Kun Iam Goddess of Mercy: A Buddhist foreign made bronze statue. It faced the wrong way – bad Feng Shui because it has back to water. Locals will not worship there. They also hate that such an expensive sculpture was foreign made.
- Penha House: house of the former Portuguese governor.
- Dr. Ho mansion: Owner of the largest number of casinos in Macau. His first wife of Ho now lives there.
- Macau Tower: Tenth highest needle tower in the world and the highest jump in the world.
- Walked the 68 steps up to the original Catholic church (all but the face burned down) on the island. Why 68 steps? Because Chinese believed the number six means “continue” and eight means prosperity. The 68 steps mean “continue to prosperity”.
- Next-door to the Catholic church ruins was the temple to the fire god. It is rumored to be the cause of the destruction of the neighboring church, which burned down.
- Finally, we visited the Macau ladies market where I almost got duped into buying an overpriced necklace.