I've left Europe for the first time at the end of July to visit Singapore, Indonesia (Bali) and Hong Kong and I've written up a few things. Maybe I'll add some pics later.
- Prepaid SIMs in .sg/.hk for 15/10 EUR - awesome when going around town.
- My 5 EUR Crumpler Camera Belt Bag. I always hated those things, but this one was so small, easy to open and close and lightweight, I might just buy my next bag from Crumpler as well, no matter the price.
- Cathay Pacific. I haven't taken an intercontinental flight before, but this was all I ever hoped for - except for room for my knees and I don't think any airline will do better. The entertainment system was superb, the food was quite ok, I got all I asked for - only boarding seemed a little less organized than in Germany.
- Flu masks in the subway, wish Europeans would adopt that. I surely would if I'm not the absolutely only one.
- Soda cans for less than 1 EUR, even in venues where you can sit and eat. Screw you German shops and takeaways.
- Soda, juices and tea in 100 flavors, even without sugar - not only Coca Cola.
- Schweppes offers Dry Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer. I miss it already.
- Evernote for sketching these posts.
- No problems at all communicating in Singapore.
- Annoying merchants trying to drag you into their shops (Bali) or generally annoy you on the streets (fake Rolex dealers in HK).
- Many people in Hong Kong don't speak more than a few words English. We didn't really have huge problems, but not understanding at all and having to point and guess or having to repeat or let them repeat two or three times can be a bit of a hassle.
- It's over :(
- Compared to the flight price the expenses for hotels, admission fees, transportation (public and taxi), food and drinks and souvenirs was ridiculously low. When taking out certain expenses that fall into the "would have bought at home anyway" like one pair of shoes, an android tablet or an additional cabin luggage bag we averaged less than 50 EUR per person per day, excluding hotel room and breakfast. So the bad part really is the cost of flying, money- and timewise (~30h inside a plane, ~13h on airports).
- How nice the Singaporeans are. Never have I got so much offers to be shown the way or answered questions, sometimes when only consulting a map for like 10seconds.
- How many people use their smartphones on the subway, in Singapore and Hong Kong. And how many people older than, say, 40 play games on their smartphone on the subway.
- Maybe it was just bad luck, but I had the feeling that Europeans in general are more likely to step out of your way or let you through a narrow spot whereas Hong Kong people stay where they are, ignore you and won't let you through. To be fair, sometimes people just squeezed through where I had no chance due to larger size, width and a backpack, but I had to take the long way in shops or narrow spots so often that it struck me.