Monday, May 07, 2012

Hong Kong - Day 3

Now to the 3rd and last leg of our trip. This day was "our day" since Vicky already flew back the night before. To conclude our mini-vacation, we decided to just stroll around and follow where our happy feet would take us. Since winter had just commenced, the temperature outside was still bearable for a walk. At around 10am, we started our track in the streets of Mongkok, looking for great finds for pasalubongs. Ironically at 10am though, the city was still half-asleep. Stores were still closed. Some malls were already opened, but only for access to commuters who were to take the MTR since the mall leads to the MTR station. But with the exception of a few coffee shops, stores inside were still closed. A fact is, in Hong Kong, shops/establishments open late and close late. Daily life routine in general ends late in the evening. Even at 11 in the evening, the city would still be well-lit and jam-packed with pedestrians crossing the streets, students still in their uniforms chatting with friends on sidewalks, shoppers going in and out of shops and so on. Just picture what a more crowded Cebu looks like at 7pm. So after we'd covered already a few blocks but still no potential open retail shops in sight, we decided to take our early lunch instead and resume our hunt after. We settled in one of our "suki" foodchain, KFC haha..(McDo is the other one). We were always hesitant to try HK cuisine for fear that we'll end up with upset stomachs. It may sound bizarre since one of the reasons why a person travels is to experience a country's culture, which includes discovering local cooking. But I tell you, if you get to see and smell their own version of street foods (intestines, weird-looking sausages, dried pork meat and others) you'll have second thoughts. What's interesting though is that McDo in HongKong won't disappoint your appetite. They have this so juicy spicy chicken wings (which isn't available in McDo here) which is so addicting. I can finish 4pcs in just 1 sitting, to think I am not a McDo fan. And their regular-sized drinks are already large compared to the sizes here. Not only that, prices are fairly affordable.

Hong Kong street foods. Taken from the web.

After our lunch we resumed our pasalubong hunt. By this time (12:30pm) shops were already opened. Mongkok (where our hostel is) is where the densest population of locals live which makes it one of the busiest spots in Hong Kong. A shopping paradise itself, this area offers a wide selection of retail shops from electronic gadgets, cosmetics, clothing from designer labels to ukay-ukay, sports equipments and many others. The known Ladies Market is also located in this area, just a 5-minute walk from our hostel. Having only a limited budget for shopping, we chose to look for pasalubong in the Ladies Market. There are plenty of bargain items to choose from there. Souvenirs, shoes, undies, clothing, accessories, designer bags replicas and household items to name a few. Most of the buyers here are tourists. And what's good about buying in Ladies Market? Your haggling skills will be put to test and measured. Yes, you can haggle as much as you want until you and the seller will come up with a reasonable price you'll both agree upon. Just a tip of advice, start asking for half the price. For example, if a shirt costs 100HKD, ask if you can have it for 50HKD. And also be careful since the saleswomen here are a bit aggressive. They will really convince you to buy to the point that body contact happens (ex grab your hands). And if you start to haggle for an item, be sure you really like it and will buy it in the end or else the saleswomen would get mad , haha. It took us 4hrs to complete our pasalubong list.

The night before, I was googling for toy stores in Hong Kong where I could possibly purchase a Hong Kong-inspired Barbie Doll. For those who haven't known, I collect Barbie dolls, hehe. Upon searching the web, I came across this article about an ongoing Barbie exhibit happening in Times Square, Causeway Bay. To our delight, Causeway Bay is just 15mins away from Mongkok. So after our Ladies Market moment, off we went to Times Square.

Contrary to Mongkok, Causeway Bay is a more modern, business-class district with skyscrapers, trendy shops, hotels in every corners of the streets. Giant billboards hung everywhere. It has this modern vibe. As Gigie had said, it strongly resembles New York (char!). And in the heart of Causeway Bay stands the Time Square, one of the major shopping center in Causeway Bay where the Barbie exhibit took place. Unfortunately I haven't found a HongKong-inspired barbie doll here. But still, I enjoyed the exhibit. Hundreds of Barbie dolls were dressed by known HK designers, a feast for a collector's eyes.

Times Square
Causeway Bay

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