Confessions from a First-Time International Traveler:

December 27-30, 2016

 My first international flight: I admit it, I had an advantage in this long journey- I was excited about everything, and I mean absolutely everything. I was astounded by the flight instructions being played in French, the mystery rotisserie chicken sauce that I convinced myself was a Canadian specialty in the Toronto Airport, and even the dreaded airplane food. After a lucky seat change to a front row aisle spot, I was ready to tackle the 13-hour flight with all of my coveted leg room. My biggest test came while being awakened by a man passed out at my feet after hour 4. After some quick action, the man recovered and I eventually returned to my wandering travel daydreams.  4 Airports, 3 countries, 2 days of traveling, and 1 continent later, we made it to the setting of our future story: the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.

The First Day of Filming-

My first thought about Hong Kong: Chaotic and Enticing Adventure.  Waking up in a bed on the other side of the world can be quite disorienting. That was put to ease with a morning yoga session and a hearty breakfast of Hong Kong Cheerios (utilizing my chopstick skills) and a banana. After a good tussle with the ATM machine in the swanky Festival Walk Mall, I felt pure joy as I proudly held the crisp Hong Kong dollars in my hand.

Meeting SJU Alum and long time Hong Konger, Patrick Leung, was a game changer. He efficiently guided us to Hong Kong Baptist University where we sat down with Dr. Shan Shan Chung, Environmental and Public Health Professor at HKBU. Dr. Chung expressed her concern for this issue through explaining the effects of toxic waste pollution on the development of the adolescent brain. She revealed the nature of her studies, the most hazardous types of electronic waste, and information about the current e-waste situation in Hong Kong. She brought an invigorated perspective for global citizens having to accept responsibility for this problem.

We made our way around the streets of Hong Kong, stopping by the harbor to take in our first views of the breathtaking skyline. After a delicious dinner of wonton soup at a “local delicacy” that Patrick recommended, we took to the streets to scope out the electronics markets. It was on this journey that I mistakenly tried to take a facial mask from a vendor, thinking it was free. It was by no means free.

The night ended with a trip to an expo where we explored the consumer culture of electronics in Hong Kong.  All in all, I could not be more grateful to have the opportunity to work with this team in finding a story here. Hong Kong has already displayed its enticing will to be explored and ventured, and I await whatever the second day of filming throws our way.

- Kuhl Kid Mac