Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hong Kong Healthcare

During the Chinese New Year I got some kind of rash on my hand. I put lotion on it and didn’t worry too much about it. It was never painfull and really didn’t itch that much. After a few days it was still there so I went to the hospital.

Hospitals in Hong Kong are very different from American hospitals. In America I would have made an appointment with my doctor. I don’t have a doctor in Hong Kong, so I went to the ER – even though it wasn’t an emergency. Nobody seemed to mind.

I waited in a short line and showed them my Hong Kong insurance card and filled out a form – it was in English & Chinese. About a minute later I was sitting on a bed in a corner of the ER with a really young doctor looking at my hand. My guess is he was just an intern, but that was ok since I wasn’t dying and there were people there who were obviously worse off than me.

He looked at my hand and decided it was a reaction to the cold. I told him I’m from Minnesota – we get real winter, not this Hong Kong version of winter. He said it didn’t matter. I don’t think he understood me. His English was very good, but I don’t think he fully appreciated the difference between our weather systems.

He gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. I waited in line with about a hundred other people – but the line moved very fast – showed them the papers the doctor gave me and paid about $5 for the ER visit and another $5 for the prescription. In America the ER visit would cost a few hundred dollars and the prescription at least $50. The bills would be sent later. In Hong Kong everything was paid in full before I left the building.

I waited in another long line that moved fast, showed them the piece of paper that said I paid and got my prescription.

I still wasn’t convinced that the doctor was right about what caused the rash, but I figured going to the hospital was so easy – and dirt cheap – that I gave the ointment a try.

2 days later the rash was gone.

I’m not an expert on healthcare and how it all works, but it seems to me that if a city the size of Hong Kong can do it so efficiently, it shouldn’t be too hard for Americans. I was in and out quickly and paid almost nothing. Why does it take all day in America and cost so much? I don’t know.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Out with the rabbit, in with the dragon.

I spent most of the Chinese New Year working. The park was open longer hours and there were more shows – which meant more work for me.

It’s all over now. Everything’s getting back to normal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shin Nian Kuai La

I learned a new phrase in Chinese – shin nian kuai la. It means happy New Year. Now I can say “Shin nian kuai la. Sange yutou dangao, ching”. – Happy New Year. Three taro cakes, please.

The Chinese New Year is on January 23rd. It’s on a different date every year since they use their own calendar. The holiday lasts until the 25th. If I worked at a bank I’d have all those days off, but I’ll be working all the way through.

This will be the year of the dragon. For now it’s still the year of the rabbit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Welcome Back

Lily & Kevin finally came back to Hong Kong. They went home for Christmas/New Year and now they’re back just in time for Chinese New Year.

I didn’t realize how much I’d miss Lily until she left. We only met last year, but she’s the best friend I have in Hong Kong – and she’s quickly becoming one of the best friends I have anywhere. I have closer friends I’ve known longer back home, but we never see each other anymore.

Ryan & Kevin aren’t as close, but they like to go out drinking together and they share the same obsession with the 3 Bs – beer, boobs & basketball.

Welcome back Lily & Kevin!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Full Time

I’m working a lot more now that the Chinese New Year’s coming up. My job is classified as full-time, but I’m really working part-time hours – until now, that is. During the 2 weeks of the Chinese New Year the park will be open longer hours and they’re really pulling out all the stops. It’s a lot busier than it was during the regular New Year – or even Christmas.

I wasn’t originally supposed to work this much, but I traded hours with a couple of the Chinese girls who wanted to be with their families during the Chinese New Year. I think that’s only fair – it’s their holiday, not mine. I didn’t have to work as much during Christmas while they did. Now it’s their turn.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crazy Money

We’ve been in Hong Kong almost a year and now we have to decide if we want to stay another year. Our contracts expire next month. Ryan likes the pubs & nightlife of Hong Kong, but he’s not very happy with his job. I love working at Disney and I’m sure there’s still lots more of Hong Kong to see. I want to stay – I’m ready to give it another year. Ryan’s not so sure.

Our plan was always to save up as much money as we could so that when we went home we’d have enough to look for jobs. I doubt the economy will be much better whenever we go back. Since we spent most of our savings on our Europe trip in October, we should stay at least another year and start saving.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Disney New Year's Eve

Disneyland also does fireworks all the time, but they’ve been ramping it up for Christmas and the New Year. I didn’t work New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, but I saw a few fireworks shows around Christmas. I’ll be working a lot more during Chinese New Year. The park’s open earlier & later so I guess everyone’s working more those days.

Christmas fireworks @ Disneyland

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Eve 2011

We went to Victoria Harbour Saturday night. They do a fireworks show every night so I was wondering what they’d do differently for the New Year. They did a lot. The fireworks were bigger & brighter. There were also a LOT more people. It’s usually crowded at the culture center and Avenue of the Stars at fireworks time, but I’ve never seen it this crowded. The harbor was filled with boats and the whole waterfront was packed with people.

New Year fireworks @ Victoria Harbour