TO MARKET, TO MARK-UP IN HONG KONG

Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.

Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.

What am I doing here? I don’t like shopping. I already have too much stuff, I’m not going to cook any food tonight and anything I buy I’ll have to lug around for the next few days.

So why does every visit to a new town start in places where buying and selling is the whole idea?

The recommended walking route through Hong Kong Central began with a whip through the historic Western Market. An imposing 19th century building it may be, but the tourist tat on sale inside didn’t hold our attention for more than a few minutes.

We did like the street signs, however.

We did like the street signs, however.

From there we took a stroll down the herbal medicine streets, where animals small and large had been sacrificed in the interests of human health. Here were deer antlers, snakes and lizards flattened and dried, tortoise shells and thousands of fins chopped from unfortunate sharks.

I don't know what these are (feel free to enlighten me if you know) but I understand they're supposed to be very good for you.

I don’t know what these are (feel free to enlighten me if you can) but I understand they’re supposed to be very good for you.

From there we made out way up through the antique district. ‘No photo’ said the sign in every shop window. Excuse me? You’re selling ivory and items plundered from ancient temples and you’re telling me it’s wrong to take photos. But it was impossible not to be impressed by the breathtaking prices and extraordinary carving. If the elephant had known his tusks were going to be turned into such artworks perhaps he would have volunteered to be slaughtered.

Have I got a Chinese horse for you!

Yes, yes, I’ve got your Chinese horse here. He’s just getting something to eat.

Stanley Markets are a Hong Kong institution, though sad to say we found them a disappointment too; they sell much the same things that can be found in any touristy market anywhere in the world.

Stanley Markets -  the place to buy a sunhat, which you possibly wouldn't need if you'd never come to Stanley Beach.

Stanley Markets – the place to buy a sunhat, which you probably wouldn’t need if you hadn’t come to Stanley.

All that aside, we enjoyed our day. Markets may not give much insight into how the locals live; locals do their shopping in supermarkets and shopping malls like the rest of us. But the markets did give our ramble through Hong Hong a vague sense of direction.

And getting there was more than half the fun…as the next post will show.

Are there better Hong Kong markets that we missed? Have you had the same experience of market disappointment? Let me know.

3 Comments

Filed under Travel

3 responses to “TO MARKET, TO MARK-UP IN HONG KONG

  1. I hate shopping and I hate markets. I can still recall being dragged around Leicester market by my mum when I was about 5 years old. If I go to a market now then it is because I have been tricked!

  2. I remember Hong Kong, all that orderliness-out-of-chaos. Those venders selling whatever, that smelled so good. Tailor shops that served beer after hours (purchase was necessary).

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