Thanks, everyone, for your amazing feedback about my travels in Asia!
My next stop, Hong Kong, had been on my bucket list to visit. Not too long ago, international travelers had made Hong Kong one of the world’s most visited cities. Now, tourism is down now due to increased tensions with Beijing, which has sought to exercise more control over the territory. In fact, a mere two weeks after my visit, nearly 2 million Hong Kong residents gathered to protest a proposed extradition bill from Beijing. The bill has since been suspended, but the protest is still active, having continued now for seven consecutive weekends.
I learned that the people of Hong Kong are under great stress. The freedom they enjoyed under British law for so many years became uncertain in 1997 when the city reverted to Chinese authority.
Also, I learned: Hong Kong has a totally different vibe than Japan, where I had just spent 12 action-packed days. Japan was more formal, more grateful, and the wealth there is staggering. WE Americans tend to think that the Wealth is in the U.S. – super wrong assumption! Another difference from America: there is not really much of an Asian middle class in general. Either wealthy or poor seems to be the norm.
I also found out, Asians have a totally different mindset about personal space. They are totally okay with crowding things together – everything from tall buildings to standing way too close to you. It took me a few days to get used to that.
I was fortunate to have delightful hosts in Hong Kong taking care of me. They showed me around for five days and introduced me to some serious Billionaires. We did some tourist things as well, including retail therapy in 12-story shopping malls. The best of the best brands from around the world are featured there – with prices that will make your jaw drop. The wealthy in Hong Kong prefer to buy everything they can with brand names. They love luxury, and so do I – I came home with some nice treasures from Hong Kong.
I had the privilege to meet and spend time with an extraordinary, self-made Billionaire who controls over 60% of the world’s home grill market. We were at his private club where families gathered for meals at large tables equipped with huge Lazy Susans, loaded with many dinner courses. I was told on the down low that this was a serious wealth club – members were mainly multi-millionaires and billionaires.
I was fascinated with some of their good-luck and bad-luck stories, such as how much danger these wealthy people were in, daily. The home-grill tycoon I met had been kidnapped by some of his own business associates in China and held for ransom. Months and millions of dollars later, he was set free. As you can imagine, he now has massive security around him and his large family, all the time. So if you don’t think wealthy people have problems, think again! They just have what I call Rich People Problems.
I also learned that business people in Hong Kong have serious work ethics. They really put in LONG HOURS, sometimes have long commutes, and are willing to do what it takes to be wealthy. Very ambitious and creative people.
I stayed at one of the top hotels in Hong Kong, called the Peninsula Hotel. It was there that I acquired my new “Asian” habit – espresso! Rooms in the very high-end hotels all have espresso machines. So for 23 days, we savored this delicious beverage. (Remember, it only takes 21 days to acquire a new habit.) I also noticed an added benefit: After downing my morning espresso, I had no aches and pains the rest of the day! I loved it so much, we upgraded our kitchen with our very own machine when we got home.
For your continuing education, I highly recommend international travel. Nothing can educate you more than being around other cultures, their rituals, and mindsets. I came home very, very grateful that my trip went off without any hiccups, including not getting caught up in the Hong Kong protests! Next week I will share my adventures in Thailand. You can have it sent directly to you by signing up to receive my Gems of Wisdom newsletter, here.
Best To All Travelers,
Business & Life Strategist
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