After living in a chaotic city like Hong Kong for a long time, it’s easy to start to take things for granted.
That’s why when 24-year-old James Nardi came to the city for the first time and had the time of his life, it served as a powerful reminder of why the city is so great.
“I absolutely love it here,” Nardi, an American, said. “It’s honestly one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to.”
That’s no trivial remark, given that Nardi has seen his share of cities. He was born and raised in New York City and currently lives in Los Angeles. As an East Asian Language and Culture student at the University of Southern California, he has always been intrigued with Asia – especially China.
“In school my studies had an emphasis on China, and I actually got to study abroad in Beijing,” explained Nardi, who speaks Mandarin. He added that he has also visited Shanghai, Guangzhou, Harbin and Qingan.
But it was his first time visiting Hong Kong, and he said, he was so intrigued by it that he would even consider moving here in the near future.
Here are some of the things he particularly loved:
As a New Yorker, Nardi wasn’t especially drawn to the “urban” aspects of Hong Kong – such as the tall buildings and abundance of high-end shops. Instead, he was more impressed with Hong Kong’s international culture.
“The people here are so diverse, even compared to New York,” Nardi said. “I’ve been here for a week and I’ve met people from all over the world. I’ve chatted with locals, and people from Belgium, India, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the UK...it’s crazy.”
Nardi also enjoyed staying in the New Territories, which he said felt more “authentic”. “At one point I was walking around a random village in Tai Po and I helped an old woman carry her washing machine down a flight of stairs,” Nardi said. “That was really cool, that’s the type of thing you just don’t see in the US.”
Nardi enjoyed the natural scenery both in New Territories and on Hong Kong island. “You don’t really get that in most big cities – usually people have to travel for several hours before they can do anything outdoorsy, but Hong Kong is literally a concrete jungle in the middle of a real jungle,” he said.
Two big highlights of his trip included cycling around Tai Po in the New Territories and hiking across Dragon’s Back in Shek O country park.
He added that he felt the Hong Kong offers fantastic cuisines from all over the world. “[I] ate at a ramen place which was great, ate at a Turkish kebab restaurant, had delicious Thai food at one point; Hong Kong has it all.”
So before you start thinking the grass is always greener somewhere else, take some time to see Hong Kong through the eyes of a tourist. It will remind you what an amazing city it really is.