Aspects of Hong Kong:  (1)

The Temple Street MarkVIEW FROM PEAK, HONG KONG ISLAND, HONG KONGet  still attracts hundreds of people each night – wandering in the warm night air, perusing the stalls in search of a bargain, late into the night.

The local restaurants are packed, patrons spill onto the street and sit on anything available, the staff work feverishly to fit everyone in.    Enticing graphics on the wall make choosing difficult – ‘Boil, large bloody clams’, ‘deep fried pork intestine’ ‘fried frog with ginger, or ‘duck’s tongue with garlic sauce.  The ‘affluent prawns’ could have been interesting.  Stalls line the nearby streets,  set up to sell a variety of cheap Chinese junk – watches, sunglasses, clocks, toys, CDs, and for the more discerning,  suzy wong dresses!   When the cops are spotted, a split second later, the CDs are gone – into a blanket and whisked away.  The vendor left with his legal merchandise.    Tourists wander the lanes between the stalls, women stop at every sparkling piece of bling while frustrated husbands follow patiently behind, just wanting to eat something vaguely recognisable and to down some cold, Chinese beer.  Haggling with more determination than any Chinese house-wife, these ambling tourists pretend to strut off, when they really do desire  this memento of their bargaining prowess –  but resolute that they won’t be ‘ripped off’.  Only when the little guy agrees, mumbling that they got it at cost price, do they clinch the deal, smug with their success!  Well played, little Chinese guy!

Not far from Temple Street, the Golden Mile, is open for business every night of the week.  Indian touts still spruik for tailors or hiss  ‘copy watch’, ‘copy handbags’ as you walk past, at least they nowHong Kong Street From a Flash Hotel put the ‘copy’ in front and no longer pretend that they are all originalsRESIDENT OF TAI O   - A SMALL FISHING VILLAGE ON LANTAU ISLAND  HONG KONG!  The furtive suitcases are now gone.  The flashy shops are open until late, they ooze opulence, economic  confidence and  gross consumerism.  Behind these glitzy facades and bright lights, rickety out-of- sight stairs lead to bird cage dwellings operating as small, dark, lone sweat shops or cell-like accommodation where old people live and die alone…..