Saturday, August 28, 2004

Friday night shopping

After work on Friday, I had one last chance to look for a digital music player and any other souvenirs. First I went back to Kowloon to Mong Kok, a shopping neighborhood that one of my local co-workers had recommended for electronics. I checked three or four different stores and found the player I wanted at the same price in each store, and it was much more than I was willing to spend. So I didn't buy any new toys to bring home.

Then I went south to the night market at Yau Ma Tei. My guidebook described it as a lively bazaar of CDs, knock-offs, bric-a-brac, and junk. It was actually a slightly more cramped version of a New York City street fair, minus the sausage and crepe stands. There were four basic booths: knock-off designer goods, clothing and t-shirts, pseudo-authentic Chinese goods (clothes, purses, makeup cases, etc.) and random cheap plastic crap. I have no doubt that any item I could have bought here could also be found on Canal St. (Maybe not the books of quotations from Chairman Mao.) I didn't see anything that struck me as authentically Chinese and worth bringing home as a souvenir. But it was fun to see the other tourists, none of whom could possibly have been New Yorkers, looking over the goods for bargains. As I walked back to the subway, I passed several outdoor restaurants (little more than tables outside a large kitchen) with menus all in Chinese and one table set up with example dishes. One restaurant had a display table covered with seafood dishes, all of which were still moving. I'm not sure if the meals were served raw or if they were just keeping the day's catch fresh. Either way, if I saw my entree blink at me, I think I'd lose my appetite. I went back to my hotel, ordered a club sandwich, and packed my bags.

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