Posts Tagged 'Sham Shui Po'

Lonsdale Fwwends

So we got back to Hong Kong from China at the start of April. A measly 2 days at work Monday-Tuesday was made much better by the fact that Jess and Zack, mates from uni, were coming to stay. I met them at the MTR on Tuesday night and we stayed up late to catch up over some beers.

On Wednesday, we headed to Happy Valley Racecourse with some beers, Jess and I had a few cheeky wins, while Zack’s horse ‘Zachary’ unfortunately didn’t win. We headed to Wan Chai afterwards and showed them Carnegies, where Jess samples the free Ladies’ Night Champagne. Thursday night they met me at Hung Hom and helped me out at PolyU for the English Society’s Big Mouth Corner. It was great to introduce them to some of the students I work with and let them find out more about China and uni life here. After, we let them check out Ladies’ Market, where Zack got nearly harassed by a woman trying to sell him a belt, while Jess got to haggle a Mulberry purse down from $250 to $60 (I think?). We went to Mr Wongs after, the usual great spread of food where the legend gave 4 of us all-you-can-eat for a total of $150!

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On Friday, after a busy day at work with our monthly event of a Superhero Fashion Show, we headed for a big night out in LKF. I let them sample the classic Char Sui Fan for dinner, while a game of Beer Pong and Pass the Dutch entertained us at Pre-Drinks. LKF was a great laugh that night, but was sad at the end to say goodbye to Jess and Zack who would be leaving early in the morning.

Saturday was spent nursing a hangover-headache but Sunday was much better – Jackson and I went around Sham Shui Po taking pictures in the afternoon. We got ourselves into some buildings, went on random rooftops and explored around Shep Kip Mei.

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On Monday, I had a Campus Swap with Nerys from Morrison Hill, which meant I spent the day with Ka-mun at their campus. Thought it was much better working in Wan Chai than Kwun Tong – loads of great places to eat at lunch, 7/11 next door for snacks, and definitely a lot less people stared at me as they’d be more used to seeing westerners there. We had a mint day, highlight being constructing a fort…

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Another highlight this week was a tweet from the famous Percy Stark in the morning saying he’s coming for lunch at our campus, so Holly and I finally got to try out a Canto-speaking place we always see but can’t go to without a native-speaker. That evening, we met up with my mate Danny Ovens from Lancaster, who’s in town fixing a machine for work (one of the best jobs ever?). We went to Tequila Jacks and had some beers and took advantage of the $10 tacos in Happy Hour, which was fun and good to talk about Lonsdale, Founders and Lancaster with so many people recently. I plan on letting him sample a LKF night on Friday too.

The Markets of Hong Kong

Markets are a major part of Hong Kong’s business. Shops selling similar items all locate in the same area – convenient for a customer’s ability to shop around and search for the best deal. This also means because of the higher level of competition between businesses or market stalls, the staff are overly friendly, enthusiastic for you to try things, keen at making deals and a tad more easily persuaded if you haggle the right way.

Ladies’ Market – The most famous market, filled with tourists. The vendors all have calculators to type amounts in, seen as people from an array of different countries are always there. Contrary to its name, it sells an array of items – tourist ‘I ❤ HK’ t-shirts, magnets and souvenirs, football shirts, bags and suitcases, and definitely-authentic designer clothes, bags, wallets and belts. Because genuine Dolce and Gabbana boxer shorts or a Gucci bag are always a couple of quid… The market stall owners work hard putting the stalls up and pulling them down every day – we’re talking long metal scaffolding here, and it doesn’t look like an easy job. Logic says leave the stalls up through the night, but I think there are some legal issues with this common sense, or plainly the owners would rather keep there property under lock and key during the night. I get to walk down the street quite a lot as it’s parallel to the long Nathan Road, on Tung Choi Street. Anyone thinking of going, go for the atmosphere and maybe try your bartering and haggling skills, but there are cheaper options elsewhere, and they can spot a tourist a mile off! Here’s some pictures of the market stalls, including one from above, during night.

Sham Shui Po Market – We came across this gold mine by accident. One evening we had a few friends round, ran out of beers and so the flatmates and I went on a beer-run, trying to find a supermarket closer to our place than the one we knew. We walked right into the middle of Sham Shui Po market – so vast and widely spread out. There are toy shops, costume shops, electric shops galore, with street markets similar to Ladies’ Market on the road, and most evenings, a jumble sale/Car Boot/Yard sale sort of structure. Adrian got his acoustic guitar there for $100 that very night (less than £10) and it can be a real gold mine if you run into the thing you are looking for. I found my favourite stall here – the one shown below where Football shirts and shorts are $45 for both, and they have so many different teams represented. Still searching for an Oldham Athletic or Northern Premier League Premier Division’s finest Ashton United shirt to crop up though. Managed to find Birmingham City one. I’ve bought so many so far, will be swimming in football shirts when I go back to the UK. Thanks to Rich for the photos below of the market.

Goldfish Market – Unlike Ladies’ Market, this one does exactly what it says on the tin and sells Goldfish. And more. We’ve seen turtles, terrapins, lizards, chameleons, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, snakes, crabs and crustaceans sold here, as well as fish tanks, fish tank filters, plants, stones, lights, ornaments, turtle food, dog leads, cages and the list goes on. This is where we bought out Terrapins, Donatello, Ian Brown, Shelley and Squirtle for $10 each (less than a British pound…), who are shown below. The place has a brilliant atmosphere and is a must-see for any visitors to Hong Kong. It’s like Pets-at-Home, but outside, cheap, tacky and just brilliant. Although it does say something about a society where a pet turtle is the same price as a Mars Bar.

 

Stanley Market – located in the town of Stanley on the South of Hong Kong Island, this quickly became another favourite market of mine. It sold a large variety of items, albeit with the usual tourist-friendly products, something which I definitely partook in. Really good vibe from this place, and its quality in atmosphere paired well with the cheapness of the products. The photos below show some of the artwork on sale, as well as the tourists’ favourite ‘Western names in Cantonese’ postcards. Another must-see for any visitor to HK.

Flower Market – Another original name, this market, located on the originally-named Flower Market Road has many florists and mini-Garden Centres.  The street evidently has a particular scent, which is definitely not the drains, and not one for people with hey fever. It is located just near Boundary Street, so north-east of Kowloon’s urban heart. Not much more really to say about this one, apart from that aside from the obvious, it also offers Bonsai, bamboo, garden plants and weirdly a whole shop specialising in rocks.

Bird Garden (Yuen Po Street) –  A little further from the Flower Market is Yuen Po Street which has the famous Bird Garden. The Garden came from the moving of the Bird markets on Bird Street (yep, another original name) due to a development project. The Garden cost HK$29 million to build and is basically a place for bird collectors to come, chat about their birds, buy supplies, even buy new birds, or simply chill out with other bird collectors and let their bird out of its cage for a bit. It seems the HK equivalent to men walking their dogs or something. They literally walk around with cages, hang the cages up and sit. Very unique social circle really. I went there today to check out the local birds (pun highly intended….)