Tin Hau, DePo, and the Bird Flower Fish
Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
93Trip End Ongoing
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We have plans to meet up with our friend Paul (DePo) who lives in China. He is the only person we know on this side of the world and one of the only appointments we'll have in our date book. He will be meeting us at our hotel but not until a bit later.
It's early so we walk around the streets exploring. We find a small travel store selling many of the backpacker essentials we bought before we left. We even see Jon's shoes (although not in a size 13 of course!)
Across the street from the hotel is a small park where old men play some sort of chess game. There are also many cats roaming around.
Inside the park is the entrance to a beautiful Buddhist temple dedicated to Tin Hau (the goddess of the sea). We go inside and our eyes water from the smoke of the large spiral cones of incense burning and hanging in the open air center of the temple space. We buy some sticks of incense and say a few prayers to protect ourselves, our families, and our friends. It is a truly amazing space and we feel very welcome.
After the temple and still waiting for DePo, we make our way over to the Jade market a few blocks away.
We eventually meet up with DePo and get some lunch. (We are quickly realizing it is very hard to eat at a place that doesn't have at least a picture menu. Thankfully most of them do.) We sit outside and order fried noodles with soy, steamed veggies (romaine lettuce) with garlic, and freshly fried tofu. We drink hot water.
Then its off to Mong Kok (one of the highest population densities in the world) to see the different markets; bird, flower, fish. We hop on a public bus going in the general direction we need. They are enclosed double-decker buses so of course we go upstairs and sit in the front row. Its not long before we are all hysterically laughing because of how scary it is up there. The driver is speeding down the road then slams on his brakes with an inch to spare the bus in front of us.
We take the MTR over to Central and walk around.
All the buildings have crazy multicolored lights on them. How fancy! We end up at the Star Ferry (shuttles 15 minutes back and forth across the water between Central and Kowloon). Near the exit for the ferry we walk past the Chinese Arts and Crafts center. Inside are fantastic carvings made from Woolly Mammoth tusks, ivory, and jade. My favorite is the ''Ivory Ball''. I learn that it is carved out from a solid piece of ivory and is comprised of a number of concentric balls that enclose one another, each one so delicately carved with a beautiful pattern can flow freely inside the others. Nowadays the number of balls that can be carved within the outer ball is 47!
We eat Indian food at the Chungking Mansions for dinner.