Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bonkers in Honkers

I told B that we should go sightseeing during the weekdays so that the sights would not be crowded with locals. It's the weekend and I don't think any local was sightseeing. No, they were out shopping like us. Such crowds!

No sightseeing for us during our last full day in Hong Kong. Instead we did the local thing and hit the streets in search of bargains. After a late breakfast of congee (rice porridge), yiew tiao (deep fried dough stick) and a deliciously smooth milk custard (ty the ginger flavour!) we set out.

Our quest started nearby to the hotel at the Jade Market. Which is real, which is fake? Neither of us like jade jewellry much and the nicer statues are expensive. Next was browsing the "factory outlets" at Sham Shui Po. They are all local brands and not very nice.

Apliu Street, also at Sham Shui Po, is sort of a Hong Kong street market version of Tokyo's Akihabara Electric Town. Stalls and shops selling all sort of electronic goods. The nearby Golden Computer Arcade was completely packed with young shoppers and computer shops. I felt a primal male urge to aquire some of the flashing lights and shiny computer cases for myself, but just couldn't find a need. Besides which, Tokyo awaits.

At the top of Sham Shui Po's Dragon shopping centre was an amusement park with a currently non-operational rollercoaster and ice rink. A local boy band was making an appearance at the shopping centre and lots of young girls were gathered around the vantage points.

Next, Mong Kok yet again. Too many choices for cameras, phones and other electronic goods. The streets were packed with people, the atmosphere overwhelming. Shoes, sports clothes, again too many choices, though not always to our taste. The Esprit Salon provided some relief, while B had her eyebrows done I was treated to a complimentary soft-drink and a seat. That's an innovation I would like to see in Australia!

On our way back to our local area we stopped again at a multilevel shopping centre filled with tiny stores selling anime and gaming paraphenalia. A few shops sold photos and posters of young idols. I regressed to childhood and purchased some Star Wars Lego - very cheap - to display in my work area. Why didn't they have Star Wars lego when I was 8 years old? It would have made choosing birthday presents much easier.

At the Temple Street Market I found a stall selling rip-off Star Wars figurines amongst a wide range of other cartoon and movie characters. One bag held a good selection, except that a figurine inside had a white hand printed on his head. Perhaps a member of Count Dooku's mob?

I do sound like a nerd, don't I.

We ate a dinner of radish cake, pippies and stir-fry at an open air restaurant besides the market, helping some British tourists, here for the Rugby Sevens tournament, to order. [Bugger, just saw John Howard on the TV again. Isn't there any escape???]. The most amazing thing about today was that we only took two photos, and they were just before we returned to the hotel!

We've enjoyed staying in Hong Kong, though it does feel like time for a change. There is lots more to see and next time I would like to walk some of the heritage trails in the New Territories and on the islands.

Next stop Tokyo, Japan!