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It was awesome to see a familiar face in Hong Kong. My cousin Joel was in HK broadcasting for the East Asian Games. He covered synchronized sword fighting, badmitten, and wind surfing… no joke. We met up for dinner and I was relieved to hear him say, “Anything but Chinese.” So we headed to Al’s Diner in Lan Kwai Fung for a Yankee-friendly feast and dined al fresco. Sitting outside in LKF is an invitation for pesky people to sell, buy, solicit, or otherwise annoy. But, with the right attitude, it can be entertaining.

Before we even ordered drinks, a man *dressed* as a monk approached. These faux-monks prevail in any area with a combination of  1. Westerners, and 2. Alcohol. Faux-monks want you to think they have no worldly possessions or money and rely on you to give them alms. This grievous deception is one of many schemes to part Westerners from their money. The orange-robe-clad “monk” went straight for Joel with an outstretched arm. Of course we did not comply. About 3 minutes later, a woman selling blinking, pink devil horns approached. “80 dolla” she proclaimed, to which Joel replied “20 dolla” and she agreed. There’s a lesson in bargaining for you. 20 hong kong dollars is about 1.60 US. To cap off the evening, yet another panhandler came up to us with a sneakier than usual look about him. He was selling buttons shaped like a certain part of the male anatomy and announced to Joel exactly what it was that he was selling… in a voice about 3 decibals louder than neccisary he pointed to the buttons (which were also blinking) and exclaimed, “penis!”. Yes sir, thank you we can see that because it’s blinking.

All in all a great night, thank you to Joel for giving me a call when he was in town. It was so good to see him.

A typical site at the markets in Hong Kong

A typical site at the local food market

Hong Kong has a variety of markets to stumble on. There are fresh food markets with live fish, exotic fruits, roasted duck (with the head still on), and just about any animal and/or animal part you can imagine: eel, pig stomach, chicken feet, bull penis… you get the idea, Hong Kongers have adventurous palates. In addition to the lively food markets, there are clothing, jade, electronic, bird and even goldfish markets. I have yet to work up the courage to make a purchase from the food market, but I did pay a visit to some other places.

Armed with my “Hong Kong Walks” pamphlet, Conor and I were on our way during a lovely 102 degree Sunday afternoon. (FYI “Hong Kong Walks” can be picked up at any HK tourist board for free!)

Stop One – The Flower Market

A quick trip on the MTR and I was at the Prince Edward station where I headed out into the fish soup that is the summer air in HK. Two steps out of the station and I was already breaking a sweat. North on Sei Yee St, then west and we were at the flower market. This was a refreshing stop, but unfortunately far too busy for me to take any pictures… It was beautiful, orchids and peonys everywhere and such a breath of fresh air to walk through. Conor liked the banzai trees… When it’s NOT Sunday, I’ll head back there for some pics!

Stop 2 – The Bird Market

Please click this image to get a closer view

Being the Bird lover that I am, this was my favorite stop (despite being pooped on). It was not only a market to purchase birds, but also a place where people, old men mostly, hung out with their pets to take them for birdy walks. The bird market did not stink as I had predicted. Lots of whistling and squawking going on here…it was funny to hear parakeets and macaws speak in Chinese.

Birds snuggling at the market

Stop 3 – The Goldfish Market

A wall-o-fish

A wall-o-fish

This one was stinky! Don’t let the name deceive you, this market had any kind of fish you could think of. All stored in little plastic baggies, it seems like it would be quite a task to run one of these stalls without killing half the little fishes. One thing that always strikes me is that staggering amount of stuff in HK – no matter what it is: fish, birds, food, flowers – there is just soooo much of everything. It must be due to the incredible population density. Supply & demand, lots of people+tiny space = lots of stuff? I guess they must sell a lot or they wouldn’t be set up.

I was ready to head on down to the Jade and Lady Markets, but Conor was fed up with the heat and needed some a/c so we headed home for the day. Pleny of time to check out the other markets later!

An unofficial MJ memorial has popped up outside my apartment in Wanchai, Hong Kong. This is a hustle and blustle part of town, people do not typically stop on the streets.

Crowds gather to watch MJ in Wanchai, Hong Kong

Crowds gather to watch MJ in Wanchai, Hong Kong

Even with the media circus dying down, there are still at least 20 people outside this video store every time I pass it (much more during rush hours). The pic and video were taken at around 8pm.