A clueless Canuck in Hong Kong

My hotel is in there somewhere

One of the glorious things about UBC is its strong international dimension. I’m humbled and grateful to be representing my university at a set of meetings in Hong Kong for the Universitas 21 Learning Resource Catalogue, which despite is name has been evolving into a community-based collaborative work tool in addition to its metadata repository functions.

This is my first trip to Asia. Initial thoughts: man that flight is loooooooong. I wasn’t able to sleep, and towards the end of the journey I definitely entered into an alternate state of consciousness, fuelled by the novelty of the environment and by a deep, deep sleep deprivation hole. I barely remember arriving and checking in.

Perhaps the weirdest point of the voyage came during a stopover in Seoul, when I was approached by a young woman who asked me, “you’re Brian Lamb, right?” My first thought was that this was a reality TV prank, but it turns out she’s a PhD student in Ed Tech at UBC who had attended a recent weblogging workshop, and was returning to Seoul for the holidays. (Should have recognised her, but like I said, I was seriously trippin’… sorry Juyun!) To make the coincidence weirder, she’s done a fair bit of work with online learning in Korea, and her area of expertise there was learning objects.

Like an idiot, I’m spending most of my first day holed up in my hotel room, working on a few unfinished tasks and preparing for tomorrow’s meeting. But I couldn’t resist taking a walkaround this morning. Hong Kong is a great introduction to the continent for a newbie: overwhelming, yet clean, safe, and with its colonial history a very high level of English usage amongst the population. Damned friendly people too… I had to be careful where I looked at my map, lest I prompt a passerby to stop and ask gently, “you’re not lost are you?”

More photos below.
A city that has everything, in a geographically compact space…

…results in a seriously vertical orientation

One way to keep the streets clean


The main island of Hong Kong has a couple pretty sizable peaks on it, so the downtown is essentially built on the side of a mountain. You can just make out one foggy peak in the distance in the photo above.


The slopes could make walking quite a chore. Thankfully, those clever city planners have installed escalators and walkways to scoot you back uphill. Remember all those futuristic scenarios of moving urban sidewalks? In Hong Kong, in so many ways, the future is now.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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3 Responses to A clueless Canuck in Hong Kong

  1. Alan Levine says:

    Watch where you spit!

    Thanks for the pix— it makes it all more real than surreal.

  2. no roadside gullies on the moving sidewalk, though… or do you have to aim very carefully at the ones whizzing by beneath you?

    Great pics, Brian! Get out of the hotel room…

  3. Marc says:

    What I remember of HK back in ’96 (before the handover) was busy it was. People there are really hustling from one place to the next. I found I had to get myself into that groove, too.

    HK was my first stop in Asia, and after that flight to be jetlagged and propelled into this world of full-on, neon signs in Chinese was overwhelming. I was just happy to get to the place I was staying (friends of the family in a tony part of the city, fortunately).

    And yet there are some really chill parts of HK too. Lantau Island and others, even the beaches on the south part of the main island.

    A trip to be sure.

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