On the second day we took the Star Ferry (cheapest and oldest ferry in the world) to Hong Kong Island. As we made our way to the Wet Market (Chun Yeung St) we stopped at a local indoor marketplace that we just happened to notice along the way. It was quite a market with fresh fish everywhere along with fresh produce and live chickens. The live chickens for sale weren’t live when they were sold. When someone wanted to buy one they put them in this conical metal container until their head stuck out the small end. This device allowed them to better grab the chicken so that they could easily hold it while they cut the throat. After that they threw them in a bucket to bleed out before they cut them up and gave them to the buyer. Talk about fresh food! Quite a scene! We also saw a bucket of rather large snakes for sale that looked pretty disgusting to us! We then walked to the Wet Market at Chun Yeung Street and watched the many people hurrying around to buy their dinner for the night. This is the way fish, beef and produce have been sold for hundreds and maybe thousands of years. No grocery stores, just little shops along the street selling extremely fresh products that people would buy for a single meal. These same people would be back the next day (and the next) to buy their food for their meal each day. It was quite a sight. After seeing these market places we headed over to the financial district to take another free walking tour. Hong Kong is one of the largest financial cities in the world and three of the largest international banks are headquartered here. The walking tour took us to many different places we would have probably not discovered or understood on our own. We saw the world’s longest escalator at almost a half mile in length (30 minutes to travel the entire distance). We were told about the cost of housing and how almost all of the money that people earned went to pay for the house or apartment they lived in. Where we were taking the tour, we were told a 3 room house (not 3 bedrooms – just 1 bedroom, a kitchen and a living area) that was 200 square feet large would cost around 1.4 million in US dollars! Imagine if our real estate market sold houses at $7,000 a square foot! During this walking tour we tried an Egg Tart which was delicious, and a drink created back in 1952 that was filtered through a sock and contained a mixture of coffee, tea and milk. The drink was really good and tasted like a unique flavor of ice coffee (although not a flavor we had ever tasted before). Along the way our guide showed us stores selling various dried seafood items (fish intestines, sea horses, etc.) that were used for medicinal purposes. We would have to be pretty darn sick before we would try some of that stuff! And if the dried seafood items wouldn’t cure you, then you could try out the store that sold animal part such as livers, hearts, intestines, ears, etc., that also had supposedly medicinal purposes. They certainly had plenty of homemade recipes to stay healthy and we were told that the health care in Hong Kong was very good. People live to around 85.
After the tour we went back to Kowloon on the Star Ferry and went to the Temple Street Night Market also known as the Men’s Market. It didn’t look that terribly different from the Ladies Market. We went there because it was supposed to be a good place to go and eat but we had a hard time selecting someplace to eat there that looked good. We eventually found a restaurant on our way back to the hotel where we had some noodles and stirred fried chicken. We forgot to take a picture of the meal but it was great. The chicken dish was pretty hot with a mixture of different types of peppers, ginger and onions that they used. As we walked back to the hotel we admired all of the neon and LED lights along the streets. It lit up the roads so well, that they don’t need any street lights here in the city.
We walked two days and logged almost 70,000 steps or about 33 miles. We are starting to get back into shape for visiting all the many ports we will visit during this 2 ½ month trip. For those that do not know, this will be the first blog in a trip that starts in Hong Kong with a pre-cruise stay before heading off on a two week cruise to China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. We will then stay in Shanghai for 4 nights before flying to Singapore where we will take 4 back to back to back to back cruises to Abu Dhabi (via Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Oman and Dubai), and then to Rome through the Suez Canal. From Rome we will go to Barcelona and then end up in Venice. At Venice we will take a short train ride to Milan where we will eventually fly back to Atlanta on May 30th.
We have added several people to our distribution list. If you do not wish to be on this list, just let us know and we will take you off.
Sharon and Greg