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The China Adventures Of Arielle Gabriel

2019 March 3

I worked on this website for some hours, until the middle of the afternoon, yesterday, then went off to Mui Wo, to my new friend who owns and manages a new Nepalese food store.

At this store, I saw many useful and exotic products that we used to trek downtown to buy:

coconut oil and creams
almond oil
castor oil

And all sorts of fresh herbs and spices.  I wished I could return to live in the little peaceful village, and shop there regularly, to give her more steady business.

She told me she sometimes mixed the hectic street traffic of Central, where she lived for many years, and worked in a British pub there.  Her aunt and uncle, also from Nepal, live in Mui Wo for the past decade, and help her realize her dream of running her own small business.

We discussed the awful problems of rents in Hong Kong, and I awoke, thinking of the three types of renters:

Chinese renters, whose families have owned their buidling for decades. These are lucky ones, as they are able to sell a few beach balls, and tennis rackets, and always make not only their store rents, but living spaces above or behind them.  This is why you see businesses continue year in year out, while not making hardly any sales!

Government subsidized renters. Scams galore here, as families with lots of different names can get more than fair share of these, and just rent them out, while they live at their second homes in Australia or Canada.
A business friend told me, the same designers and architects are used for cheap homes as for luxury homes, so these can be quite well designed.  Years ago, two bedroom apartments were only a few hundred American.

You can get the budget homes faster, if you are in a rural area, or have an older relative living with you.  So maybe a little more than half of the renters here lucked out, while the ones still on waiting lists pay a fortune for almost nothing.

How nothing? At Craigslist, shabby sleeping rooms over 1000 USA, with tiny windows looking onto similar housing, and a hint of green mold around the plumbing fixtures.  That is, several times the price of the pretty government apartments, with two bedrooms.

The third type of housing, is what many expats enjoy.  Their international corporations and even non-profits like churches and charities pay all their rents for them.  Their housing is no worry at all.  Some even have their business clubs, house maids, air fares, and schools for children - all included in their Corporate Package Deal.

Be a winner, not a whiner!

And as they spout their multi-culturalism chit-chat, the fact that the average Chinese man here has a median salary of 10,000 Hong Kong dollars, while these ex-pats enjoy salaries of a few hundred thousand American?  I think to myself that there are many well-educated young Chinese hatching in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Who could do all these ex-pat jobs?

It is an unusual place, Hong Kong.


At the Nepalese store, I wander among the glowing bottles and jars and vials of interesting food and beauty stuffs, and enjoy knowing someone who is from a country I loved visiting: Nepal.

She mentione that MAC beauty products she ordered did not too as well as she expected, and had to be stopped. We fret over this, thinking that beauty products especially skin treatments would go like hotcakes with Ex-Pat Women.

"Booze," I say cynically, and we laugh.

I refer to a party at a restaurant down the street a few weeks ago, and my surprise at the bar bill for a friend who ordered a few glasses of wine.

"They don't spend money on very much," says my new friend.

"Art is terrible," I agree, "Americans on the Internet bought all the time from me."

We discuss bluntly and precisely the cheapness of the locals, in their money habits, and I try to add a note of optimism, that Booze Selling in some countries is very difficult, but our friends here seem to be permitted to do that.

I was going to tell her plans for selling an organic beauty cream from my family recipes file, but I dash to the bus stop, and leave it for another day.

We are happy in the day at hand, that's enough for now.

Lamma Island * Lantau Island * Cheung Chau Island
Hong Kong * Mui Wo * Peng Chau Island
Tung Chung * Shenzhen * Nanning * Hunan Province
Bobcaygeon * Pointe Claire * Montreal
Peterborough * Lake Sturgeon * Ontario
Vancouver * Richmond * British Columbia

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The China Adventures Of Arielle Gabriel

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