Finally! An entry where I’m not embarrassed to be doing something I could/will do with my 2 year old in Hong Kong!
Of the things I wanted to see in Hong Kong that were local, the markets were high up on my list. I loved the street markets in India and Phuket, and I learned to haggle from the Master–my mother-in-law, Suchita. However, the guidebooks said they weren’t easily navigable.
Screw it, I said to Ravi…let’s take my crutch out for a spin. At 7 weeks out from the break, I had permission to put “some” weight on my foot, but I had fairly poor stamina. However, we decided that I could probably handle the markets if we got close enough…and if not, we’d do what we could and then we’d find a cab to get back to the hotel with plenty of time before the evening’s Taylor Swift concert.
I’m so glad we did.
Not showable…the smell that assaults your nose as these signs assault your vision
It’s not an open air market in the same fashion that I found in India or Thailand…or would later find two blocks away selling clothes, toys, and food, but rather a concentration of stores all selling fish, turtles, and aquarium supplies along the same chunk of road.
Shops sprawl out onto the sidewalk, creating the “market” feel. Bags of fish are tied to stands on the sidewalk, and other goods spill out onto the pedestrian way as well. The street between the two sides of the market was choked with parked cars on either side and traffic lurching its way up the street as pedestrians played chicken crossing from side to side.
I immediately thought of my friend Brandy’s husband, Steve, whose hobbies include a giant aquarium in their home. This sort of place seems like a mecca for home aquarium enthusiasts, albeit only really for the locals. According to the quick googling I did, live fish are not allowed in most airline cabins, and at least in the US, are not allowed in at all by immigration. Sorry, Steve….but if you ever had the chance, I bet you’d love it.
We also saw many stores carried turtles. It’s a long story, but Elanor’s baby nickname was Turtle (and still is, no matter that it doesn’t fit her even remotely)…seeing the little turtles made us miss her like crazy.
There were also some more generic pet stores sprinkled throughout the market, and we did pop into one of those to get some guilt gifts for the kittens. Because we’re suckers…let’s move on.
A few blocks away as we were looking for an MTR station (as it could take us directly back to the hotel) we stumbled upon an open air market that sold everything from underwear to fruit.
Thought I was using hyperbole when I said underwear, didn’t you?
I was getting tired, so we didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked. However, I got to see a range of goods on offer (although I never heard the “realfakes” the guides books promised I would be offered). The experience deeply reminded me of going to flea markets when I was a kid, and the markets I’ve experienced in Asia. Loud, packed (which occasionally made using my crutch tricky), and full of random and amusing thing.
The best part, unquestionably was when we stumbled across what was effectively a life infomercial. See the video below to watch the woman demonstrating knives she was selling.
Buy the knives!
We ended needing a cab to get home…the subway had an entrance in the market, but it involved walking through what felt like endless overpass walkways, and after 10 minutes of pain, we went down the nearest set of stairs and hailed a cab. I’m looking forward to the next visit…nearby there is a flower market and I would have loved far more time/energy to explore the markets we were in.