Reflections, Travel

Hong Kong: Flora and Fauna

On the recommendation of another couple staying at our hotel, we decided that we would take the trip to the flower market and the bird market. This took us up to Prince Edward station, a couple of stops further north from Yau Ma Tei.

We wandered down the road, following the nice signposts pointing the way. The first stop being the wonderfuly named Flower Market Road, which of course is a street full of different flower and plant shops. There was quite a remarkable diversity of plants on offer, with a couple of shops showing the most beautiful array of orchids that I have seen anywhere. I was very envious that I wouldn’t be able to take anything home.

The florist shops had unusual blooms on offer that were unknown to me, as well as the usual suspects – sunflowers and roses. We couldn’t believe the individually wrapped rosebuds in the water buckets in the doorways. 😮
They were pristine, and they were a fraction of the cost we would pay at home.

By the time we had oggled our way down the street past the topiary, the orchids and the cut flowers, I had decided that there was no excuse for not having flowers decorating your home if you lived in Hong Kong. The prices were excellent, and if salarys are comparable, then I couldn’t imagine not having fresh flowers in the house all the time.

At the end of Flower Market Road we came to the back entrance of Yuen Po Street Bird Market. They have made the entries to the market very ornate, and the shop areas fairly orderly. I’m sure the original bird market would have been much more higgledy-piggledy than this.

Once again, as an animal lover, it can be a little hard to walk through looking at the number of birds in tiny cages without feeling somewhat horrified. But in saying that, I am led to believe that space is at a premium for the humans who inhabit Hong Kong and they are used to living in much smaller spaces than perhaps us Kiwis are. It shouldn’t be surprising then to think that for them it is acceptable for birds to be in smaller cages too. No doubt housing a bird in a small apartment also poses issues.

So, putting the cage sizes aside, pretty much all of the birds we saw seemed to be in good healthy feather. And if you choose to visit the market you must be prepared to be wowed by the intricate and beautifully made cages. Some are complete works of art. Unfortunately I only took “real” photographs here, so I can’t share a quick digital snap with you.
Oh, and even if the cages are small, the birds get the most exquisite water bowls. None of this plastic rubbish for these little feathered-friends. Porcelain. Beautifully decorated in most cases.

It really was interesting, although not as big as I imagined it would be. If you are not looking for a bird, then the whole experience will be little more than 30 minutes. Oh, and keep your eye out for the most amazing bird – I have no idea at all what he was, but he was the most phenomenal colour – a vibrant metallic blue. If he sounds familiar to you I’d love to know what sort of bird, other than stunningly beautiful, he was. He wouldn’t have been more than 20 cm top to tailfeather and about the same build as a smallish starling.

If you are on a short visit to Hong Kong, then you may want to consider these markets if you have a local person to buy a gift for (flowers), or if you have two or so hours to fill (maximum total travel and browsing time for both markets).

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