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Hong Kong ExperienceWe arrived to Hong Kong at night. It was rainy, shocking! The city seemed huge. There was sky scrapers everywhere, and beautifully lit up buildings. We had about a 45 minute drive to the ship. We were able to see much of the city, and our tour guide explained much of the history. The next morning we woke up and it was raining. We decided that a little bit of American food was just what we needed. Apparently we were not the only ones, walking into California Pizza Kitchen we knew about 90% of the people inside. We had an amazing meal and then decided to walk around the city. This was a big city similar to Boston or New York. There were fast food restaurants everywhere, and tons of stores we recognized. Gucci, Louis Vitton, Prada and other pricey stores were all located right near the ship. Since it was pouring rain outside, I decided to go the movies. This was a unique experience. The movie, Hairspray, was in English with Cantonese subtitles. It was a sweet movie, with great subtitles! After this we headed back to the ship to attend a gathering with the former Chief Executive of Hong Kong and current vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. It was awesome, I was able to meet him and speak with him for a few minutes before he addressed the student body. Next we headed to the 7th deck to catch part of the Hong Kong light show. This is when all the big buildings have their lights work alternately. After watching the light show we went to the Union where both C.H. Tung and his brother CY spoke. His brother talked about their support for Semester at Sea, their father CY founded the program. While he spoke about Hong Kong and how the "One Country, Two Systems" policy works. It was an incredible honor to listen to him speak. He was very kind, and is ridiculously intelligent. We all got a kick out of it when he mentioned his good friend Alan Greenspan! I ended my time in Hong Kong out on the deck sailing away from the big city. My time in Hong Kong while short was good.
Brett Lane -- University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Tai Chi, Tea and Dim SumPulling into the port of Hong Kong, I had the image of a semi driving through a busy street. There were tall buildings on either side of the waterway and maneuvering all around our giant ship were small boats. On the second day of our stay in Hong Kong I went on a trip called Tai Chi, Tea and Dim Sum which is a very self explanatory name because that is precisely what we did. We left in the morning and went to a restaurant on the top floor of a mall. We had a nice dim sum breakfast which was very different than a traditional American breakfast. After breakfast we went down to the waters edge on the Kowloon side and were met by a few tai chi masters. It was raining out but we were underneath a huge overhang. They taught us some sequences of tai chi and then we all did it together. Tai chi is really a beautiful art that combines strength and agility. Following our rejuvenating exercise we boarded the bus and headed for a tea shop. The two women who owned the shop made us five different kinds of tea. There was a whole process, almost a ceremony, to making the tea and cleansing the cups and pitcher. I opted out of trying the very strong black tea although a lot of students still did. We then had some time to explore some of the streets of Hong Kong before going back to the ship.
Maggie Converse -- Renssellaer Polytechnic Institure