Hong Kong Day 22 (January 15, 2006)

16 01 2006

Today was the last full day in Hong Kong.  So, like every good person in Hong Kong we had to shop until you drop!

The day started out sort of poorly.  Since we had sent all our dirty clothes the laundry the day before, it didn’t leave anything for Mrs D to wear until I ran down to get the clothes.  I zipped down, and picked up the laundry.  Had my brief two word conversation with the cleaners, and headed back.  I got to the front door, and promptly buzzed up to the apartment.  No answer.  I buzzed again.  No Answer.  I buzzed persistently… No answer.  I backed up across the small street and hollered up.  No answer.  This was getting embarrassing.  Here I was standing in the street with a bag of laundry shouting at an apartment building at 0830 on Sunday morning.  I was probably NOT making many friends.  I walked over to the door again, and I heard Mrs D’s voice over the intercom!  Aha!  I answered back and she let me in.  It turns out that I had been buzzing 3/F, while even though the apartment is 3/F you’re supposed to buzz 4/F or somesuch.  Go figure!  I walked quite quietly past the apartment below us, knowing that I’d been buzzing them like crazy for the last little bit (Ooops!)

The laundry incident behind us, it was time to get out early and meet with Zoie and her family for an early morning breakfast dim sum at 0930.  We met over in TST, and had a really nice dim sum.  The service staff must have partied a bit hard the night before though, as they weren’t terribly quick.  In fact, Zoie got so tired of waiting for the ice water that I had ordered, that she went out, down the street, and got some for me!  Still no water from the restaurant 😦  It was a nice breakfast, and there was probably more talking than eating, as Mrs D got caught up with her aunt and cousin, and I bent the ear of Alex, telling him all about the China trip.  He was a good listener 🙂  1130, and we all had to get going. 

Since my new phone included a free engraving, we stopped in at the Motorola store, which was on the other end of Nathan St.  We zipped over by cab, and brought the phone in.  Three hours he says.  OK.  We’ll be back.

We were in an area that wasn’t too familiar to Mrs D, so we hopped a cab over to Auntie #1’s place.  She hosted us for a while and we chatted, had some oranges, and basically hung out. The outside of many of the apartment buildings in Hong Kong are pretty gritty looking, but on the inside, many people have very beautiful places.  Auntie #1 was one of those.  She had beautiful, old style hardwood floors, and more than enough room for two people. She had nicely decorated the place, and it was quite warm and inviting.  It was a nice visit.

Now came the ugly part.  It was time to shop, shop, shop!  We took a cab again, down to Mong Kok.  Cabs are quite inexpensive in this city compared to home.  It’s $15HKD for the first 2 kilometres, and then it goes up from there.  None of this $5CAD just to get in, and then start ticking immediately from there.

Mong Kok was crazy.  Sunday afternoon every tourist and local in Hong Kong was crammed into the smallest aisles, bumping and squeezing past one another as they scoped out all the goods being sold.  Of course as soon as someone saw something that interested them, they’d stop, and that would create a jam up, and then people would flow around them, bumping and jostling.  This continued on for about 5 or six blocks, and at one point our flow of people had to cross another flow of people.  It was like a physics experiment in Brownian motion.  people bumping, and redirecting everywhere.  I told the Mrs that if one MORE person steps on my toes, I was going to have to kill somebody, and I think the courts would find it to be justified homicide.  If a vendor had something with Winnie the Pooh, we had to stop, check out the goods, and either move on, or buy it.  Mrs D seems to be losing some of her Chinese talents.  A couple of items, she simply bought for the asking price! No bargaining, no haggling.  Just bought!  I was shocked.  I warned her that they will take away her record of Chinese heritage if she keeps this up 😉  We picked up another Hong Kong T shirt, as I realized that I hadn’t got one for myself yet.  They were asking 59HKD for it,or 2 for 110HKD.  I pointed out that if I gave them 55HKD, they’d be making the same per unit profit as if they sold me two.  Negotiations stalled.  We moved on.  We found another stall later that had them at a better price to start with anyway.  Ha!  Mrs D managed to find every Winnie the Pooh fake bathmat, shower cap, and other useless item that she could buy, and did.  She was happy.  Three hours later, I was exhausted.  I pointed out to Mrs D that if I didn’t get out of these crowds, and somewhere that I could rest, I wasn’t going to be very good company at dinner.  We grabbed a cab back to Auntie #1’s place, where I had a much needed rest.

Mong Kok market crowd:

Dinner was at 1900 at Luk Yu Tea House, down in Central, so we hopped in a cab with Auntie #1 and wound our way through the crazy Hong Kong traffic down to the restaurant.  We arrived around 1830, and Auntie #7 and her son were already there.  Luk Yu Tea House has been the restaurant of choice for Mrs D’s dad’s side of the family for as long as she can remember.  Family pictures usually were taken there, at dinners which included everyone.  Tonight’s dinner would see Aunties #1,7,9 and 10, as well as uncle #4.  Color and Andrew were there as well as Christine and Barry.  All together we had 13 people for dinner, and we all fit at one table.  This place was built to handle large families!  It was quite a feast.  Auntie #1 had planned the menu back when we first came here for Dim Sum back about a week ago.  Being the regular, and good patrons that the family is, we got the “preferred customer rate”.  Dinner was over at about 2130, and someone even suggested that Mrs D could continue on her shopping spree.  I killed that idea pretty quickly 🙂

We all walked over to our various transit options.  Bus, MTR, taxi: no need for a car in Hong Kong (especially if you don’t want an early heart attack). Home again on the good old 70, it was then time to pack.  And pack we did.  The Mrs arranged, and rearranged, and packed, and repacked until it all fit so neatly into our three bags.  I made sure we had receipts for as many of the purchases as possible, and started the Excel spreadsheet (calculators can’t handle numbers this big! Haha!)  We somehow managed to stay under budget for our Canada returning allowance.  It must have been all of my great bargaining skills (It certainly wasn’t hers).  We had everything all ready to go finally, and it was only 0130.  Time to sleep.

Here’s a picture of the standard downtown traffic crossing:  Notice how wide it is (the yellow stripes) and just how many people come bearing down on you from the other side of the street.  Quite the experience:

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