This Christmas break, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Hong Kong and Taiwan for a few weeks. It was my first time traveling alone internationally – an experience that was simultaneously frightening and exhilarating. With the help of my local friends and relatives, I largely avoided the overly touristy areas, and thus had a chance to observe both countries, their customs, and their people in what might be termed more “normal” moments.
Of course, the most important part of any travel experience (to me at least!) is the food. Los Angeles probably has some of the best Chinese food this side of the Pacific, but nothing can compare to street vendor 蔥油餅, 牛肉麵 (or 蚵仔麵線!) on a chilly evening, or a cup of 奶茶 to go. What sets the Asian countries I have visited apart from America is the sheer density and availability of great, great eats. No matter where you go, you just can’t go wrong!
On the flip side, one thing I didn’t appreciate as much about Hong Kong or Taiwan was the squishy-ness – there were simply too many people everywhere! To economically get from one place to another, you either have to dodge people on the sidewalk or endure sardine-like conditions on public transportation. As a large and in charge American, I can say that I definitely got to know some fellow passengers and pedestrians waaaaay better than I intended to!
All in all, the trip was great. I got to see some friends and family that I hadn’t seen in what seemed like ages, and brought home some stories that are worth retelling for the ages to come. As I’ve said before, college is the perfect time to travel! Take hold of the opportunity to do so; you won’t regret it.