Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monday in Hong Kong

Monday, April 1, 2013

We were up bright and early again--we are still in "jet lag recovery mode",  I guess.  At least we both managed a few hours of sleep last night, even if our days and nights are still a bit upside down!

We started our day with room service breakfast, courtesy of David.  He made an early morning run to our neighborhood market and bakery, and we enjoyed a nice breakfast of fruit and a pastry.   The markets sell pomelos from Thailand!  They were my very favorite of all the exotic tropical fruits we tried on our Thailand trip--so I plan on eating them every day while we're here!

Despite our very early (middle of the night) wake up, we didn't leave the hotel until about 10 am.  Hong Kong may be the city that never sleeps--but they do sleep in, because many shops don't open until 11 am or so.  That isn't working too well with our upside down sleeping pattern, but in a couple of days we should be adjusted.

Originally, we'd planned to visit the Hong Kong Heritage Museum to see an exhibit of Faberge jewelry, including 4 Faberge eggs.  But for some reason this morning we just weren't in a museum kind of mood.

Instead we decided to visit the Kowloon side of Hong Kong--across Victoria Harbor from the island.  We took the MTR under the harbor, made a couple of line changes, and got off in the Mongkok neighborhood.  It's one of the older areas of Hong Kong, and is very densely populated.

Our first stop:  The Flower Market.  We love any kind of market, and flower markets are always on our list of must sees.  This market had many small shops selling every kind of flower and/or plant imaginable, but as usual the orchids were my favorite.  If I lived here I'd have beautiful orchids in every room!  Here are some of the prettier ones:

This orchid was actually much darker-almost black.  Notice the price: $18 Hong Kong dollars-about $2.35 US dollars, and the huge orchid plants like in the first picture were only about $20!

There were also many shops selling bonsai in all shapes and sizes:

One shop had an interesting selection of carnivorous plants such as venus fly traps, etc.  We saw this weird hanging plant in many of the shops.  Of course we couldn't read the signage, so I have no idea what it is!

After enjoying the beauty, sweet smells and hustle bustle of the flower market for an hour or so, we moved on to the Yuen Po Street Bird Market, just a couple of blocks away.  There were a few exotic tropical birds, like these beauties:

But most of the bird market was smaller song birds in pretty bamboo cages.  There were also several small shops selling bird supplies like bird seed, beautiful elaborate bamboo cages, and  live bird food such as huge grasshoppers, squirming larvae, crickets and even tiny lizards.  We wandered around for awhile--the sound of all those song birds was lovely.

We had planned on walking through the Goldfish Market--but we couldn't find it!  So on we went to the Fa Yuen street market. This market stretched for about 3 blocks, and had just about everything!  Clothing, purses, household items and produce.  Lots of locals shopping here:

We agreed that it was snack time, so we shared a steamed pork bun from a street vendor.  Must keep our energy level up!

We wandered and explored, heading in the general direction of the much talked about Nathan Road area.  WOW was it ever crowded!  So many people that it's hard to walk--we just had to "go with the flow"!  We walked along Nathan Road for a few blocks, but decided we really weren't too interested in buying a new camera, cell phone, computer or gold jewelry! Good people watching, though......

All the while we'd been looking for a place to sit down and have a cold drink--we sure haven't found any sidewalk cafes here in Hong Kong!  Finally we gave up and decided to have a snack, just so we could sit for awhile and rest our legs.  We found an upstairs chain restaurant and shared some BBQ Pork on rice and a cold green tea.  Aaahhh, it was good to sit down!  Here's our snack--it was pretty tasty:

We were in the area of the Ladies Market, so thought we should check that out.  Pretty much a tourist trap--lots of fake Chanel and Louis Vuitton--no thanks!  It was v-e-r-y crowded:

By now we were definitely tired of the crowds, so decided to MTR back to Hong Kong Island.  Down we went to the subway,  sped along under the harbor, and popped back up like a couple of moles on the Island!  We got off a couple of stops before our "home" station to explore the Causeway Bay area--mostly high end shops of little interest to us, so we wandered towards our hotel.  We found a nice neighborhood with interesting markets and shops along the way--that's much more to our liking!

Here's an interesting Christian church done Chinese style:

The view back towards Causeway Bay:

We were slowly making our way back to our hotel, but decided it was snack time again!  We stopped in a small hole-in-the-wall dim sum place, and shared a couple of items:

Tiny steamed dumplings filled with minced pork and cabbage--yummy!

And some rice noodles filled with BBQ pork.  These weren't quite as good as the dumplings, and they were slippery little buggers to eat with chopsticks!  While I was wrestling with a bite, a nice old gentleman gave me a sweet smile and chuckled.  I'm sure the locals get a kick out of watching the "lo wais" fumble with chopsticks!  

Just in case it sounds like we are doing nothing but eating--we've decided that we are going to "graze our way" through China--we want to try it all!  Instead of the usual sit down 3 meals a day, well just share some street food snacks or visit a small restaurant for a sit down snack.  So far, we've really enjoyed the food here.  We've had many nice interactions with the locals, who have been very kind and helpful with translating.  Their English is sure better than our (non-existent) Chinese!

Back to our hotel for a much needed rest, we relaxed for a couple of hours before heading out for a late dinner.  We talked over our dinner options, and both agreed that we didn't want to go too far from "home".   We decided to turn left instead of right as we exited the lobby.  What a lucky turn--there's a great neighborhood full of interesting little eateries right outside our front door!  We checked out several menus--we found everything from pizza and pasta to a Brazilian beef restaurant!  We chose a small place serving mostly vegetarian fare, and had the most delicious dinner!

 Steamed white Chinese cabbage in garlic sauce.  I think it was just baby bok choi?  It was deeeelicious!

Spicy Schezwan Noodles in a "peanuty" broth--mmmmm good!

And steamed dumpling filled with minced pork and red & green peppers.  VERY tasty!
 We shared a glass of iced tea--and the bill was less than $20!

And just a FYI--we used ONLY chopsticks today!  We're still pretty clumsy, but definitely getting better. And I'm very sure we won't starve!

It was a nice short stroll back to the hotel.   It's been a large day for these two travelers, and we are just dead tired!  We managed to stay awake till almost 9 pm before we conked out--that's an hour better than last night!

Tomorrow in Hong Kong--over to Lantau Island and up the hill to the Big Buddha!


  1. I must remember to pack my own fork if I ever go to there...What camera are you using? These pictures are of great quality- glad you can stay awake long enough to blog- I enjoy reading and following along with your daily adventures!

  2. Hi guys! Better late than never...... Sorry I haven't been writing. My internet service has been acting really wonky and I got fed up. Finally called my cable service and, hopefully, I have the problem resolved. Plus, with my IPad, I forget to check in on your blog. By the way . . . . I'm sure I've already told you that Chinese food is my absolute favorite food? So every thing that you've posted sounds awesome. In your honor I had spring rolls this evening and I'm sure THEY DON'T COMPARE to your wonderful delicacies! I have to catch up on your blogs so I'll move on to your next post. Miss you!

  3. Actually the food looks inviting. Orchids were beautiful, and the tropical food...the vendors of markets....
    Another great day in China. Weather not so good but your troopers and not letting you slow you down one bit.
    I liked that coral top you had on at the last post Di...you both look great. You sure know how to make the most of every waking minute....