Posts Tagged 'Stanley'

24 degrees in Aberdeen?

Had a slow week at work this week as we’d already had our big monthly event for the kids – the Christmas Party – and the deadline day for the students’ forms (ones that say they’ve participated in English activities with us) had passed too. We’ve been watching films with a brew for days now, which is a great way to spend the last couple of weeks in work before the holidays. The kids (who are 19-21 years old) also really love making Christmas cards and paper snowflakes. I stopped doing this like mid-Primary School, so it’s very very weird to see them getting their kicks out of stuff like this. Just to show how much I’ve enjoyed this week at school, here’s a picture:
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Been a busy week after school preparing for the pantomime which will be next Tuesday, 18th December. So not highly exciting waiting around during rehearsals especially since I’m only in scenes 1 and 6, but we make the best of it dicking around backstage and having a laugh. Wednesday night was good going to Jack, Jordan and Ian’s place for Homemade Mulled Wine and snacks, when we did the Secret Santa for Palawan, as there’s about 16 (-ish) of us going. On Friday night, we went out for Steph S’s birthday – Pub Golf style. Went down as one of the best nights we’ve had here yet – went to a lot of new places, met new people and had the normal Chatteris banter with everyone.  Thanks to Steph for organising it and getting some good drink deals!

598517_10151335858987040_952226682_nSaturday was football training and hangover day, as per. And at night we headed to Molly’s flat for a surprise half-birthday Irish party (we supplied the Baileys), and it was Davis’ actual birthday too. Great night there and although we weren’t on it with the beers to our usual standard it was still a great house party. Sunday was a more lively day. Nat and I went to Aberdeen in the morning to check it out. Not the seaside town I expected, with the main road right next to the harbour, and lots of local boat owners shouting their offers for a boat ride (one even sailing from the other side of the harbour…). Interestingly we saw the MTR Extension line under construction, which will be great when it’s completed. But it balls-ed up access to the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant so we had to get a taxi there. It was 24 degrees there, and I was in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops…bit different to the Scottish Aberdeen on 16th December.

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Nice place, Aberdeen, but it lacked the charm of Stanley that made me want to stay in Hong Kong for years. So after seeing the sights there, we got the bus to Stanley and its beauty didn’t disappoint again. Awesome views and great vibe there. Even saw some Carol Singers in the 24 degree heat.

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We met up with Adrian there and got some beers to watch the sunset on some rocks, looking out in the harbour. We had bought a fresh young coconut to drink while we walked down there, but to be honest it had one of the rankest tastes ever. Felt I’d drank some medicine and had that strong nasal feeling like you get when you inhale paint or something. So we tipped the coconut milk out and filled it with beer instead. Course we did.
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Me, Nat and Aids

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San Miguel in a Coconut.

We ended the week with a brew and the Stollen Mum had sent me over, watching Pax (Jeremy Paxman’s Empire). Joe would be proud. Another great week.

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….)