So why does every visit to a new town start in places where buying and selling is the whole idea?
The recommended walking route through Hong Kong Central began with a whip through the historic Western Market. An imposing 19th century building it may be, but the tourist tat on sale inside didn’t hold our attention for more than a few minutes.
From there we took a stroll down the herbal medicine streets, where animals small and large had been sacrificed in the interests of human health. Here were deer antlers, snakes and lizards flattened and dried, tortoise shells and thousands of fins chopped from unfortunate sharks.
From there we made out way up through the antique district. ‘No photo’ said the sign in every shop window. Excuse me? You’re selling ivory and items plundered from ancient temples and you’re telling me it’s wrong to take photos. But it was impossible not to be impressed by the breathtaking prices and extraordinary carving. If the elephant had known his tusks were going to be turned into such artworks perhaps he would have volunteered to be slaughtered.
Stanley Markets are a Hong Kong institution, though sad to say we found them a disappointment too; they sell much the same things that can be found in any touristy market anywhere in the world.
All that aside, we enjoyed our day. Markets may not give much insight into how the locals live; locals do their shopping in supermarkets and shopping malls like the rest of us. But the markets did give our ramble through Hong Hong a vague sense of direction.
And getting there was more than half the fun…as the next post will show.
Are there better Hong Kong markets that we missed? Have you had the same experience of market disappointment? Let me know.