I’ve arrived! Already I feel incredibly accomplished. Just after getting through customs and loading up my 2 big suitcases alongside my carry-on luggage, I found my beloved HSBC Premier (let me say — if you can get Premier status at HSBC, do so — they are absolutely the best bank for the international traveller!). I was just going to stop in to get a coffee, cash, and maybe check some e-mail, but found that I could establish my local bank account even without a local address! Several minutes later, I walked out with my first off-shore account!
Next – transportation to Avi’s in the Midlevels. With all that luggage I’d have to hire a taxi, unfortunately. It wasn’t exorbitantly expensive, as it is a rather long way to Central (the airport is off on a completely separate island firstly), but it wasn’t cheap either. With tolls I ended up paying $340 HKD (~$43).
I make my way up to Avi’s gorgeous apartment and realize that I need a couple of things — toothpaste, something in my stomach, and at least one adaptor (had issues getting that sorted in the US). There is a convenience market just yards from the apartment, as well as this guy with a shed selling electronics gadgets.
At Wellcome I spend $27.10 HKD on (1) one full-sized tube of Darlie toothpaste (I just had to get it) in Lime-Mint flavor @ $14.90 HK ($1.91), (2) one 300 g package of noodles (probably good for about 4 meals) @ $3.30 HK ($0.42), and one packet of 8 wontons @ $8.90 HK ($1.14).
I then bounce over to the shed guy and take one converter for $15 HK.
Total costs for today (I’m certain I shan’t be spending more, as I am getting close to crashing at what is merely 7:30pm): $382.10 HK or $49.11 (give or take — today I noticed the rate was 1 USD to 7.78 HKD)
Not too shabby – and I’m hopeful of bringing those costs even lower in the near future, as I happen to be in a rather expensive part of town at the moment, and the convenience market isn’t exactly a value shopper’s paradise. However, right away I find cabs are cheaper (a ride from JFK to Manhattan, which isn’t comparable in distance at all, would cost $45, not including tip, which is not customary in HK), the toothpaste and noodles cheaper by a little, the wontons and converter cheaper by more.
Tomorrow – orientation!!