Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kowloon Walking Tour

I've been to Hong Kong several times this year. So many times in fact that I was able to apply for, and get, the Frequent Visitors Card. This Card allows me to bypass the long immigration line ups. A nice card to have even though it's sort of irrelevant when you consider I still need to wait a long time for my luggage to come off the plane. Oh well, at least it's a card I can brag about! Speaking of cards, when I emptied out my wallet before we left Canada and started cancelling unnecessary department store credit cards and various annoying store points cards I made the decision never to have a fat wallet filled with useless cards ever again. It was nice at first walking around with a nice skinny wallet but once the bank accounts were opened, the credit cards were applied for and the shopping started I notice that like Canada, the Philippines loves getting you to sign up for points cards. Sadly now my wallet is fat again (and no, it's not fat on money). But I'm totally getting off topic here, back to my Hong Kong blog:

Since I've been to Hong Kong several times I've been slowly seeing all the museums, landmarks, temples, and sites that Hong Kong is famous for. Beyond the tourist stuff there's obviously the social activities like restaurants, clubs and bars. Seeing as I'm 36 the club hopping evenings are becoming less and less as the years pass by. But bars are always there to help fill my belly with satisfying beer (interestingly enough, the beer of Hong Kong is San Miguel. I get the impression that Hong Kong people don't even classify it as a beer from the Philippines although that's where it originated from. I guess it being a 'Hong Kong beer' is partly correct since there's a San Miguel Brewery in Hong Kong. But I still classify San Miguel as a Philippines beer so while in HK I won't drink it [the market is saturated with the stuff in the Philippines after all]).

Wow, I got off topic again ... damn conversations about beer ... where was I? Oh yeah, touring Hong Kong .

Since I've seen most of the museums and sites in Hong Kong already I decided I wanted to try one of the walking tours the Lonely Planet guide recommended. Obviously I brought along my lovely and talented counterpart Aimee on my quest for Hong Kong knowledge and experiences. We decided on the Kowloon walking tour.

We awoke in the morning to see the sun slowly creeping its way down one of the many Legoland-like apartments building complexes in Hong Kong. I say 'Legoland' because they remind me of the Lego buildings I used to build as a kid: tall, skinny, and blocky. Sadly my Legoland buildings would always fall down but thankfully the Hong Kong Legoland buildings remain standing.

The first stop of our walking tour was at the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden.

It's less 'garden' and more 'market'. It's estentially a market where you can buy birds and various bird supplies. In most cases people have opened entire shops dedicated to selling birdwares (new word, like it?) but I noticed a few old guys standing around trying to sell off one tiny bird in a cage. The picture below shows the types of cages being offered in the bird garden.

Bird supplies include thousands of live crickets hanging out in cages and see-through cloth bags. I suppose you could buy the crickets as either bird food or a pet for your kid. Hmm, not a bad idea ... pet crickets ... I can come out with a line of cricket outfits. But doing that might cause the spiders to get jealous... moving on.

The bird garden is basically one long corridor that has an entrance at the front of the corridor and an exit at the back. There are bird stalls on both sides. It's an interesting place with many things to see. Following the corridor to the back immediately brings you to...

...Flower Market Road.

Flower Market Road is exactly that; a road with flower shops on it. Lots of them. Probably over 50 shops.

After looking at thousands of brightly coloured flowers we came across a shop that sold unique plants. I took a picture of this plant because it demonstrates how wonderful evolution is. A plant that comes with it's own beer cup (several of them); what an excellent invention!
After finishing off at the flower markets our travels took us passed several clothing markets selling questionable 'legitimate' name brand products. Eventually we reached the Goldfish Market. The Goldfish Market isn't one market but a street lined with pet stores mostly selling goldfish. The fish are displayed in small individual plastic bags.

To buy a fish it's easy as grabbing the bag you want, paying , and walking away with your new found friend.

After the Goldfish Market our walking tour brought us down various Kowloon city streets. It was nice seeing areas of the city I wouldn't normally see without a guide book to guide my way. The rest of the walking tour included stops at temples and markets selling jade but unfortunately the tail end of the Kowloon Walking Tour included a walk through the area's night market. A night market 5 blocks long and since we were taking the tour during the day, no stalls at the night market were open. The only thing left to do after completing our 2 hour walking tour (the guide said 2 hours but for some odd reason it took us 3) was to eat lunch!

Nothing like a nice big slab of tripe (or other by-product) after a morning's walk!

Just kidding, for lunch we ate in an area called Kunttsford Terrace. It has lots of cool and trendy places. We decided on Thai food and it was delicious.

Going back to my "Greenland" blog: we did the walking tour the day after my Greenland food experience and I was really in the mood for REAL vegetarian. We decided on a vegetarian restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet guide but once you arrived at the address, it didn't exist. Aimee said with a laugh, "Maybe God is trying to tell you something". I responded, "Tell me what? To stop trusting the Lonely Planet or stop being a vegetarian?" God never replied to my question...

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