Monday, April 28th, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong

I finally had my camera returned to me, it was very nice of Jackie to drop off it with me at our MTR station, I am quite sure he was passing right through but stopped especially to return it. I had to get up fairly early to pick it up but this was not a problem. As per normal, we had a few things from the local bakery.

Today was essentially devoted to browsing and general shopping, however, we did manage to squeeze in a few points of interest along the way. We started out by first taking the MTR to Mong Kok which is simply an area where there is a lot of little shops, street markets, malls and restaurants. The initial intention for this area was specifically to look for Laserdiscs and for VCDs (for Mike). This did not work out as planned, though we did purchase a few things while walking through the so-called “ladies market” which had only a few “ladies” items.

We browsed around the area, visiting a few large stores and quite a number of little shops, though not much of real interest. While walking to the west of Nathan Road we accidentally found the bird market, hearing noises from a small lane, we investigated and were very well rewarded. The alley itself is hard to spot, and while walking along, it is very narrow and very noisy with birds, though much less noisy than the street. There were quite a number of small, dark, cluttered stalls, haphazardly arranged selling birds, cages and other related paraphernalia. Many of the cages were very crowded with birds and it was quite interesting to wander around looking at the various different types. Many places it was even difficult to walk past due to the narrowness of the walkway. Many places were selling live mealworms and locusts for the birds which made interesting (if not nauseating) viewing.

The Bird Market

After this, we made our way back to Nathan Road to look for lunch, now, this is a difficult thing because we would like to eat local food as often as we can, however, if they cannot understand what you say it makes it fairly difficult to order. We eventually decided to try a restaurant that turned out to be located in a hotel and served continental. It was quite a change and we enjoyed the meal very much.

After lunch we headed south along Nathan to find the Jade market. This is an interesting area, located just off of Temple street (where, you may recall, we spent our first real night in Hong Kong wandering). It is in a enclosed area (that is, it has a rough roof, and is essentially a large room) and is composed of quite a number of small stalls selling various trinkets and pieces of jade. It took me quite a while to decide to buy two bracelets made of Jade, one was very expensive and the other much less so, I talked the dealer down a fair amount in price (about 10%) but did spend a bit of money. The expensive piece is very nice, a marbled version of white jade, very pretty. I will be passing those off to my sisters.

After this, we returned to our “home” MTR station, Sham Shui Po, dropping off all of our parcels (including some boxes we picked up to ship some gifts we purchased back to Canada though we are still considering bringing everything with us on the plane and paying any duty that may be due).

Then, off to the Golden Computer Center yet again, to browse through the computer equipment, software and VCDs. Mike finally relented and bought a player which we returned with immediately to try it out. I do not particularly care for the quality of the sound or picture but for normal movie watching it is perfectly acceptable (I prefer my Laserdiscs which have both exceptional sound and picture).

Avery returned home shortly thereafter and watched a bit of some movies with us then Raymond returned and we went to his favourite place for noodles just down the street. It was very good, the restaurant had absolutely no English anywhere and we sat at a large table with 4 or 5 other people. He informed us that he did not know how well he did on his exam tonight but we think he did quite well. After the noodles (it was already about 10 pm) we went to have desert just down the street, it was, in Raymond's terms 'Hong Kong Tapioca' and was quite good.

Then, we proceeded down the street to our normal stop at the local video arcade, with Raymond who gave me a crash (literally) course in Mah Jongg, which really confused me, but I am sure it will be different when I actually learn how to play.

After returning home for the last time, Raymond described how to get to the Tin Hau festival in his home town which is tomorrow. It should be very interesting. Hopefully we will not get too lost.

Raymond was very happy to show off his university's Internet site (the Chinese University of Hong Kong) and I took the opportunity to check my electronic mail, learning just how bad it is back home. It seems so distant from us, I suppose it is.

⇒ Continue to Tuesday, April 29th, 1997 - Kowloon, Hong Kong - Tin Hau Festival