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Jungle Boys’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 13 Aug 2009

Location: Hong Kong

Map9.30am - Breakfast in the lounge. The weather is decidly unimpressive today. It is raining heavier than it has any other day this week and there is thunder and lightening right above us, so loud we can hear it ove the music and noise of the lounge. We've decided not to make the ferry trip to Macau today, with the weather so bad. We'll have to go tomorrow - regardless of the weather, tomorrow is our last chance. Hopefully it is better tomorrow than it is today.

So what to do today? There's still a few things we want to see across in Kowloon, so we'll probably head over there today and see the Naural Museum and then probably go shopping. We want to buy a tea set, but can't find a good shop.

Later - We spent most of the day in Kowloon. We went looking for a shop that sells tea, recommended by the head butler in the Lounge, but when we finally found it, it was no longer there.

The weather, as usual, was horrible. The morning was pouring rain and without an umbrella, we were often found waiting it out under an awning or inside a shopping centre.

We walked through the Flower Market - as the name implies, rows and rows of shops selling all kinds of freshly cut and presented flowers - to get to the Bird Market - where, also as the name implies, they sell caged birds - before flagging down a taxi to head to the Museum.

At the Museum, we walked through the 'History of Hong Kong' exhibition, which presented Hong Kong's history through 8 rooms. It was quite interesting, beginning with the formation of the land around Hong Kong and the islands through vulvanoes, etc, the first inhabitants of Hong Kong then on to the various dynasties that ruled China, then the British "invasion" after the Opium Wars and the Japanese occupation during World War II, ending with the handover to China in 1997. Fascinating.

Although there were other exhibitions, we'd spent a long time at the Museum so we didn't take a look at anything else and decided to walk back to Tsim Sha Tsui, where the ferry leaves for Hong Kong Island. We found a Hong Kong Arts and Crafts store which, from the outside, looked quite small. So, we wandered in, thinking we'd give it a quick glance ove then leave. But, turns out the store was huge, spread over two huge floors. Upstairs, we found various tea sets, teapots, cups and the various acoutrements of the tea ceremony. We probably spent more than an hour in the store looking at various tea sets. As happens in most shops in Hong Kong, as soon as you walk in, the shop assistants are all over you, rarely leaving your side, trying to sell you anything. This shop, despite its more upmarket and more expensive outlook, was no different. Three sales women hovered, ready with an explanation for anythng our eyes might glance at. When we first arrived in Hong Kong we found it particularly annoying, but as the week progressed it became obvious that this was how business is done, from the smallest shop selling cigarettes and magazines through to the most prestigous of shops selling expensive items like fine china wares, etc. It's just how it's done, annoying as it is. The sales woman in this shop was particularly keen to sell us the tea set we were after. She brought out various sets, tried to mix-and-match items, even putting two different-coloured items side-by-side, that was like putting bright red next to neon blue and then trying to tell you there is no discernible difference between the two. In the end, we bought a few items, but not a tea set. As always happens in Hing Kong shops, we offers a discount, we think about it and decide it just isn't the exact set we are after. We tell herno, we won't buy it. She says, "But why?" They seem never to understand why you wouldn't want to buy something of they offer a discount.