Mongkok’s Marvelous Markets

September 26, 2015: After our morning dim sum extravaganza on Hong Kong Island, we made our way through Victoria Harbour to the Kowloon Peninsula. Victoria Harbour is a busy stretch of water. We plied our way across the choppy water aboard one of the rather rickety old double-decker Star Ferries, dodging a cruise ship, other ferries, Chinese junks, cruising yachts, tugs and numerous other boats, large and small.

Once safely on the Kowloon side, we skirted the modern Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the old-world charm of the 1881 Heritage shopping mall (formerly the Marine Police Headquarters) on our way to Tsim Sha Tsui metro station. We must have walked more than six blocks underground from the metro entrance to the train that would whisk us three stops to Mong Kok station.

The bustling area of Mongkok is a shoppers paradise. It is probably most famous for its Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street, but we skipped that craziness altogether. Knock-off handbags and designer labels aren’t really our thing.

Instead, we got lost rummaging through other streets crowded with food stalls and hardware shops selling everything from used power tools to live chickens and fresh seafood.

Food markets are always a highlight for me. I love checking out what is popular in other parts of the world. As expected, there was a lot of unusual stuff in this one. And the food was so fresh. One prawn literally jumped out of its tub trying to make its escape just as I walked by. The shopkeeper seemed surprised when I bent down, picked it up and returned it to the tub to be with its mates. Maybe the prawn was too!!!

We even managed to find a few items for MOKEN. At a shop selling screen material, I picked up a few yards of fine nylon mesh to replace the torn screens that are supposed to keep the bugs from getting inside through our porthole windows. It was something I’d been looking for off and on for months in Subic, where all I’d been able to find so far was unlikely to keep out the small biters.

We stopped in one hardware store to ask about o-ring rubber. Although the proprietress didn’t have what we were looking for, she made a phone call and asked us to wait. Within a few minutes, a fellow from another shop up the street came and escorted us to his place of business. Here we found the o-ring rubber we were looking for and an assortment of other bits and pieces for a couple of projects that Chris has in the works. Quite a coup.

Following a refreshment break in air conditioned luxury and another stop for a late lunch, we made our way to check out two other markets in the area.

The skies opened up on our way to Goldfish Street, where we found dozens of shops and street vendors lining both sides of one block selling tropical fish. There were Nemo likenesses everywhere. It could just as easily be called Pet Row, because other shops specialized in puppies, kittens, turtles and birds.

Just a little further along, we came upon the Flower Market, where florists and street vendors sold flowers, plants and floral arrangements in a brilliant display of colour spilling out from shops along the street.

Nearby we found a watering hole and stopped in to enjoy a couple of cold drinks and rest our feet before catching the metro back to our hotel with our packages in hand.

The rest of our time in Hong Kong was spent arranging ferry tickets to Macau for the following day and exploring the Wan Chai neighbourhood around our hotel. Although we didn’t know it when we booked the room on Agoda, our hotel was smack in the middle of a red light district. It made wandering around after dark an interesting experience.

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