Doing business in Hong Kong

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Uncle told us how to get home last night via bus instead of the MTR and it was faster, so today, hubby and I took the bus into Sha Tin to meet his parents and their jewellery-dealer friend at a dim sum restaurant.

We first went back to Aberdeen Fishballs & Noodles Restaurant for lunch because I had a craving. The waitress had put in the wrong order and the noodles turned out to be the thick rice noodles instead of the vermicelli. When Nelson told her that we received the wrong thing, she LIED and said that that was what we ordered, when I distinctly recall Nelson order the vermicelli in Chinese. Anyway, she told us it wasn’t her problem and that was that. Coming from Toronto, where you can easily send food back, this was appalling behaviour to me, but Hong Kong is so different culturally that I just accepted it and ate what was in front of me.

 

We did a bit of shopping and then met up with his parents at a dim sum restaurant in the mall. They had brought a friend who is a jewellery dealer. I was in the market for a string of pearls. It sounds shady to do business over dim sum, but hubby’s parents were with us so it was ok. I ended up with a string of 20-year-0ld cultured fresh-water pearls. I know that salt-water pearls look better, but for the price he was offering, I couldn’t say no. In fact, the colour of these pearls are beautiful. I thought I wanted the white pearls, but this one has a hint of pink and I love it.

I mentioned that the culture here is different. When I was here 5 years ago, I had a hard time dealing with the crowds and the pushing and general rudeness in the city, but this time, I knew what to expect so it was ok. I’m likely going to go home with a bruised shoulder from bracing and pushing back. At first you feel kind of bad for knocking people aside, but then you realize that they don’t take that kind of stuff personally, because they are doing it themselves and this is expected behaviour. It’s evident because even if I deliberately walk into them, some of them actually apologize to me. Hong Kong is a cell phone city – everyone is talking or texting or just generally not paying attention, but the difference between the people in HK and the people in North America is that in NA, people can use their phone AND avoid walking into people at the same time. In HK, they have their heads down and are not paying attention to anyone around them – these are the people I have been knocking around the most. Typically in any other city, I would step aside to avoid touching them, but there’s no room to move here. So if I am not the one with my shoulder down giving the hit, then I will be the one taking the hit. The city is way too congested. Subways during rush hour is also chaotic. 5 years ago, it annoyed me that passengers don’t let people off the train before they boarded. This time, I pushed in with everyone else, which makes it very challenging for those trying to get out. Hey, if you can’t beat them, join them. Again, the people take no offence to all the pushing. It’s expected. One new thing I observed on this trip was the waiters rushing you out when you’re done eating. They have no patience for dilly-dallying. Pay and get out. There was one waitress that didn’t even want the tip we were calculating. She just wanted us to pay and give up the table to waiting customers. Tipping doesn’t seem to be a big thing in HK. Some places add 10% service already, but not this lunch place we were at and yet she still didn’t want us to take the time to leave her something extra.

 

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