Jul 19

Hong Kong Guide : A Day in the Life of a Tour Guide

I’m very much embarrassed by the lack of updates on this blog. Time flies, especially in Hong Kong.

Almost every day, I wake up bright and early, ready to meet my guests-of-the-day. We will brave the weather together (right now, it’s a very hot and humid summer), in order to explore the streets of Hong Kong. We talk about Hong Kong history, culture, the love-hate relationship with mainland China, our pop culture, food, etc. As much as a routine job this seems, it really isn’t.

I have met many interesting people whom have always been generous to share with me their life stories. Parents who sacrifice themselves for the benefits of their children; nature-lovers who teach me, a born and bred city-resident, to appreciate the greenery I see around me; businessmen who, as shrewd as they may seem, are the kindest people I have met. Everyone has their own story to tell and it has been more than a joy to listen.

The cultural differences, especially between the East and the West, crack me up at times. Just the other day, we were at a local eatery and my guests were using forks to eat rice. I gave them a puzzled look and exclaimed, “You are using a fork to eat rice? I can get you a spoon!”

They laughed, explaining that is how they eat back at home. As it turned out, a spoon is only used for soup. As keen as they were to learn my culture, I learnt theirs too. Alas, the grains either fell through my fork or landed on the table, creating an unsightly mess. I looked at them helplessly before picking up my good old spoon and chopsticks. I told them the story of how my mother taught me to use chopsticks when I was young. I had to use my pair of chopsticks to transfer marbles from one bowl to another. Undeniably, it was a good methodology. Since then, I can pick up almost anything using chopsticks (especially rice grains).

After my tours,  I look forward to head home for a good shower and to rest my feet. I would then sit in front of my computer to reply to enquiries on my tours as well as scan internet sites for breaking news on Hong Kong. I follow my guests on Facebook and Twitter, treasuring the bond that we have, even though we are miles apart.

Once every few days, I get my laundry done at home. The moment I set up the clothes-rack to dry my clothes, it becomes a chore to walk across my tiny living room without bumping into anything else. It helps that I have a de-humidifier, which shortens the drying of clothes to a few hours (thank God!).

As the night wears on, I find myself on my bed, dozing off just as the streets become quieter. It is a disciplined lifestyle. I have to make an early exit from the occasional social gatherings in order to be well-rested for my tours the next day. So there are no late-night parties and hangovers for me – but hey, I’m not complaining!

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  1. […] Ski, our contributor, from Hong Kong, wrote a compelling description of a day in the life of a tour guide in Hong Kong. […]

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