Misc Notes From the Week in Hong Kong

…There’s a juice stand in one of the busiest parts of the city that is 24 sq. ft. The rent? $30,000 per month…The night after I stayed at the printers’ plant, I couldn’t find a hotel room on the internet to save my soul, other than ones for $400, $600 a night. Trevor, a HK native, has a group of about 100 friends that are connected by an app called Whatsapp, so he put out a message. He got about 10 replies and I found a room…Sign on a bus: “No matter how far you go, remember where you are from.” This could refer not only to geographical, but occupational…Hong Kong is vertical; they have just filled in a big section of the bay down by the convention center for more high-rises…The 3 most expensive cities in the world for real estate and rentals are London, Tokyo, and HK; a 1000 sq. ft. condo here is like $800,000…Food is actually cheap if you eat at local restaurants; just had excellent sushi meal for $15.00; dinner last night (slices of smoked duck in broth with rice noodles for breakfast, was $7…weather in summer here is hot and humid, but unlike Rome (“Dog Days”), the city stays as crowded as ever…Streets are actually pretty clean, although there are sewer smells; the city is growing too fast…There are tons of shoe stores; been wearing my Sanuk surfer shoes the entire trip…What they call “hot coffee,” or HK coffee is strong dark coffee with canned milk, v. good…Yesterday I had soup with noodles and slices of abalone…I’ve got the subway figured out; you buy a card that you swipe upon entering — when you exit, you swipe again and it knows how far you’ve gone and deducts appropriate amount; subway system is brilliant: clean, trains run frequently (every minute at rush hours), are clean, air conditioned. I got so I felt pretty clever making my way around…Had glass of iced coconut juice yesterday while roaming…


I’m determined to lighten and downsize my luggage. Searching for a carry-on that will pass any airline’s muster (22 x 14 x 9″) and has both wheels (a godsend in cities) and backpack straps. Have thought of adding my own small pneumatic wheels for non-paved roads. I don’t want a zip-off smaller backpack because I always have my own LL Bean college backpack with carefully selected items. I’ve got to stop bringing twice as much stuff as I use. I knew one guy who used to cut off the handle of his toothbrush. My friend Allan travels frequently to SE Asia with just a small backpack (no wheels) and buys pants and a shirt upon arrival. No sweating it out at baggage claim, and first through customs. The lightweight cargo pants with zip-off shorts work well in warm climates. Shirts with pockets are totally useful. I’ve got a neck pouch on a string for passport and airline tickets at airports. Travel is an art.

My 11″ MacBook Air is a total joy and now a permanent part of my travel gear. The most beautiful piece of technology I’ve ever owned. Yo Steve!

Saw great show on TV last night: The Fat Man in a White Shirt. Great cooking show. BTW, I don’t like Anthony Bourdain (whose writing I like) dissing Alice Waters. He hangs out with uber-chef David Chang and they both think they’re awfully cute and play the “hipper than thou” card to the max. On this episode, the Fat Man was in France butchering a pig, making cheese in the alps, and gathering wild herbs in the woods with a brilliant chef.

Well, I’m off to the airport for my 1:00 AM flight to home sweet home. See what happens when I have some time to kill? 

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

4 Responses to Misc Notes From the Week in Hong Kong

  1. Rick Steves may be a bit much for some, but his travel gear is top-notch. Check out his Autobahn Rolling Backpack. It may be what you're looking for.

  2. Thanks, Anonymous and Shadowmoss. These comments led me to a bunch of good bags with wheels + backpack straps, one of which I'll soon order. No longer having to sweat out the baggage delivery system (and to be early to customs and passport checking, etc.). Less is more.

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