Very excited to share this installment of Notes from the Field with you! Written by the ever-diplomatic Mrs. Diplomat, who runs a blog of the very same name, this diplo-spouse gives us the ins and outs of living in Hong Kong. She's great about practical how-to advice - including how to navigate the HK health care system, especially as she prepares for the birth of her "diplo-brat #2", and where to catch the best meals, and the 101 of being a diplomat's wife in Hong Kong. And she shares with us some of her very best pictures to paint a full picture of what life is like - kind of making me put this on our list!
Check back tomorrow for Part II!
Diplo-mat or Diplo-spouse?
Three words to describe your current post:Vertical. Efficient. Dynamic.
Best thing about your current post:What Hong Kong offers to residents defines quality of life. Residents get low income tax, no sales tax, subsidized education and healthcare, and for this year, a share of the government’s fiscal surplus. Diplomats get to enjoy all that except for the fiscal surplus, and we need not worry about tax exemption for most part.
You have visitors in town for the weekend at current post, what does the weekend look like?We get guests every month, so it is difficult for us to tour all of them around.
Hong Kong is a well-signed place though, and as such, the detailed itinerary I made, complete with MTR exits and snippets of tour-guide spiels, should get them around with ease. We treat them in a Michelin-starred restaurant for dinner, queue permitting. Postpregnancy, I would like to try taking them on a dinner on a junk, another icon of this place.
If you’re in current post, you must try:Line up for a taste of Tim Ho Wan, the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant, and eat to your heart’s content at HKD20 or less per item on the menu. The new branch at
Hong Kong Station has slightly higher prices though.
Most difficult about living in current post:It seems that nobody else knows about the ID they issue for the consular corps except for the Immigration Department and the police, rendering it of limited use beyond immigration lanes. This means our diplomatic passports are staples in my handbag.
Biggest adventure at post?We have this goal of riding all the possible ferries interconnecting the islands of
Hong Kong and the neighboring territories, and braving all the hiking trails. We have crossed out six ferry routes and two hiking trails so far.
When did you realize you were far from home?When I craved for some Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme and there was none at hand. We crossed the border to Shenzhen for some Dunkin’ Donuts, but it was not the same as the ones we are used to.
What’s the most important thing about re-creating your home at post?More than anything, we strive to give our diplobrat(s) more or less the same childhood memories, traditions and values we had: Sunday masses, beach getaways, summer lessons in sports or the arts, Christmas dinners…We also started acquiring paintings of home-grown artists to décor our place with. We intend to bring these along as we move from post to post to expose our children to a part of our culture.
|Waterfront bars and restaurants along
|Octopus, a common street food. |
|The Family Trail linking the Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan villages in |
one of the many hiking trails for the outdoorsy.
|Boats housing some fishermen and their families amidst the high-rise condominiums of |
the landed houses of The Peak. Sok Kwu Wan,
|Jade animal charms near Man Mo Temple, my favorite giveaways for the Chinese New Year. |
|Rugby Sevens after-party by the bars and restaurants of Lan Kwai Fong, Central.|
All photos by Mrs. Diplomat.