Yesterday was mostly walking and less photographing. I'll post a few pictures later tonight when I get home again; I want to leave for outlying island Cheung Chau while the morning is still cool. Modified: and I'm back now, so pictures!
Yesterday morning I visited the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Garden, which was in reality a medium-sized park with some monkeys in the middle. Monkeys always make my heart light, as did the uniformed children (barely past toddlers) who shuffled along in their tours to see them. Though Chinese, many of their mothers and instructors spoke English to them, probably so they'd learn it early.
The rest of the morning was a stroll down Hollywood Road, lined with curiosity shops. There's a surprising number of pornographic ivory statuettes. Still trying to figure that one out. I suppose there must be demand.
After lunch with Joe (who was working from home yesterday) at a Thai restaurant, I headed to Kowloon to visit the Bird and Flower Markets and the Ladies' Market. After the relative serenity of Hollywood Road, which alternates crowded intersections with a few quiet turns, especially in the morning before most shops open, Kowloon was a madhouse. It's impossible to walk anywhere without jostling and being jostled. In the Bird Market, the racket of caged birds is only matched by the racket of bird sellers, including one man who walked up to a parrot and emitted a startlingly realistic dog bark at it. After woofing a few times to no avail, he walked away again without a word. The parrot was stunned into silence.
The Ladies' Market is a street of stalls set in front of discount fasion stores, a combination of hideously knocked-off luxury goods and a few good finds that were probably bound for boutiques but "fell off the truck" somewhere along the way. Haggling is paramount but most of the time I wound up bashfully paying full price; I project the aura of a pushover up to five yards ahead of wherever I go to shop. After a few purchases and a lot of browsing I walked the 3.5 miles down Nathan Road all the way to the Star Ferry pier, where I took the ferry back to Hong Kong Island and Joe dragged my sore butt to the Foreign Correspondents' Club for dinner.
After all that walking, a deep and immense love of the Mid-Levels Escalator broke over me as I coasted back to Joe's place. I decided to write a poem to it.
Dear Mid-Levels Escalator
At first you creeped me out
Like that slightly odd guy in a polyester plaid shirt
But then you snuck up on me
(like that guy)
And when I got to know your personality
And started to understand your offbeat style
I realized you weren't tacky
But beautiful and smart and funny and kind
But why were you closed above Staunton Street you bitch