Hong Kong is known for it’s cheap shopping. It is ‘relatively’ cheap to fly here, and to stay in hotels. It makes for a great vacation stop over.
Living here is an entirely different story. I shop at the supermarket for our meat.
5 chipolata pork sausages : $HK17 -> $AU3.50 That is for 5 SMALL sausages (not the normal pork sausages we’d get in Australia).
Nothing too bad you say. Lets move on to lamb.
10 New Zealand Lamb Cutlets: $HK270 -> $AU54.50
Ouch. (Aussie ones are even more expensive… thank god they don’t taste as nice).
Shall we Look at beef?
1 kg (hard to get a serving that large.. but humour me) Australian Rump Steak: $HK400 -> $AU80.65
Meat is expensive. It is almost cheaper to eat out than cook.
Produce is expensive if you buy it in the supermarket. I have to for the moment, as Mitchell won’t tolerate the wet markets and I don’t have a helper. For example:
Strawberries: $HK45/punnet -> $AU9.10
2 small capsicum (1 red, 1 yellow): $HK40 -> $AU8.10
Not too bad I suppose, but it quickly adds up. (Based on current exchange rates)
I could go on with basic groceries, even something like an electric mixer (try retails $US300 in the US, $AU 600 in Sydney, but having to pay $AU800 here (ON SPECIAL!!!).
My point is, buying your basic ingredients for cooking your own meal here is expensive. Much more expensive than we would pay in Sydney. Sure, this is partly because of the economic recession, but as we have been learning, Hong Kong is expensive to live in.
Rent. It has come down in price. Instead of paying $HK$40,000 ($AU8,000) in monthly rent for a modest 3 bedroom apartment, you can pay $HK30,000 ($AU6,050)… BUT leases here are signed for a minimum of 13 or 14 months, and you can’t break out of them until the 13 months is up (unless you pay it out)… so we’re playing a waiting game hoping to get a rent break in 7 or so months time to help offset the rising cost of living expenses. If we’re still here that is…
Attitudes of some kiwis and aussies are they perceive ex-pats are raking in the $$ and living an easy life. I can tell you first hand, that isn’t the case. Life as an ex-pat is hard. It is lonely at times. We have to budget. I know some ex-pats have ‘slush funds’ (normally young and single), but the majority of us don’t. With a family, we have to live from day to day, just like we would back home. But you know what? We don’t have the support we would back home. I don’t mean financially of course because through thick and thin we’ve always tried to scrape through. Friends are gone. Some stay in touch (we got local AU and NZ numbers so everyone could). Some seem to have forgotten about our existence since we moved here or maybe think we don’t need them anymore. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Friends are a lifeline regardless of how far from home we have to fly. I’ve made new friends, but they don’t replace the old. So to new friends and old… keep in touch. I appreciate the lifelines you throw out to support me/us through our bumpy journey here.