Reflections, Travel

Hong Kong: Day Two

After Dried Seafood Street and our brunch in Rice Sellers Street the remainder of our second day in Hong Kong was fairly low key. We travelled from Sheung Wan in the west over to Taikoo and Quarry Bay in the east. Taking advantage of the cafe at one of our large multi-national clients’ building we indulged in Quick Tip #5 by enjoying a yummy fruit juice and soft squidgy seat. It also gave us the opportunity to people watch in a high level business environment. There was a considerable difference in the dress code in this building compared to others we had visited, and in stark contrast to the general population on the city streets.
This was also the location of our large scale brick screening wall mentioned in my Day One comments, and inside these large buildings were some wonderful pieces of modern art. I particularly liked the large woven metal jars in one foyer area. And from the vantage point of one of the interconnected buildings we were able to see the exit of the Eastern Harbour Crossing, which I have to say looked pretty impressive from above.

After this visit to modernity and glass, we moved on to a more rustic and lived-in neighbourhood for our last business call of the day. This provided my first experience of a local corner park, and public street furniture. So following my own newly-established advice, I took a seat in the park and watched life go by and the local park’s inhabitants enjoying the sunny weather while John made this final call. Cunningly all the locals were all sitting on the shady side of the park whereas I, not noticing the lack of cover, sat on a sunny bench. Hmmm. Today’s lesson: How to have an outdoor sauna.

Local Corner Park

After sitting here enjoying the ambiance of alternately frying and cooling down again, based on the clouds covering and uncovering the sun, we moved off again on our way back to the MTR and the hotel. On the way back we passed by the entrance to Causeway Bay market, which provided another insight into the Hong Kong culture of food. Fresh, fresh and fresh seem to be the bywords here. The butcher was working away at his trade, while the local chicken seller was doing her thing in front of multiple cages of live birds. No prepackaged chicken thighs here thank you very much!
Based on the wafting odour and my aversion to watching anything live potentially being processed into something dead, we decided that maybe this aspect of food culture could be bypassed in this particular instance. 😉

A surprising feature of the city is how much small industry there is at work. Small shops sitting side by side, often with quite conflicting uses. On our walk back to the MTR we passed a furniture maker spray painting cabinets on the sidewalk in front of his shop, while two doors down there was a florist and a few more doors down a bakery. Quite remarkable business zoning. 😉

As this was our last day of business in Hong Kong we were looking forward to doing the ‘tourist on holiday’ sights.
Looking back I can’t help but wonder if we would have had such a rich and varied view of this vibrant city if we hadn’t had cause to walk through non-tourist neighbourhoods on business. I think our visit would have been the poorer for not having these experiences. Would we have walked down Rice Sellers Street, or even thought to venture down Dried Seafood Street? I’m not so sure that we would have.

I can’t recommend enough the idea of getting out of the tourist neighbourhoods if you can. Take a random bus trip just to see the city. Walk a couple of blocks further than you planned just to see what’s down that street. Don’t sit in a tour bus secure from the heat, sights, smells and sounds of the city, unless you only have a day or two to spare in the city.

Go local. See the day-to-day bustle. Enjoy a different view. Take that unique experience home and share it with others. It’s worth it – I promise.

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