Posted by: 1of10boyz | December 16, 2011

HONG KONG Part 3 – Subways and Ladies Market

It is nice to get a spare minute to start the day (it really isn’t much more than a few minutes). We are not required to meet anyone until lunch time and we are going to have a big day shopping. We are not hesitant about using the subway and on our way to make connections with our friends.

We are supposed to meet with CY, Maria, CY’s Sister – Emily, and Elder and Sister Lawton for Lunch. We have become comfortable with the Subway quite quickly. I find that so long as I can see the map of the Lines I can find my way around. What I am not comfortable with is the whole station layout. I am usually pretty good with the spatial layout of objects and landmarks compared with the maps provided by metropolises. In reflection now, I should have been less confident and more inquisitive. Following my own directions would also be more than helpful.

I have text messaged where we are to meet to the Lawtons and don’t review that location. I have caused a problem by forgetting where we are supposed to meet. I think we are supposed to be meeting everyone at Station exit G when we are supposed to meet them at exit C. We arrive early and get out of the station at the correct location but get out of the Station so I can to figure out how to get to where I am really not supposed to be.

We first attempt to get oriented with the building layout and where we are. I think that I have it figured out and we attempt to walk to Exit G. So we head up the road in the direction I think we need to go. I don’t have a map and I don’t have a station guide (it is bolted to the wall) but we go. Once we reach the major cross street I think that we should turn left and we go down the block about half way and realize that the sidewalk is ending. It is now very obvious that we are not in the right location. Little do we know that had we turned right and walked the same distance we would have been able to see the LDS Temple across the street about half block away. We return to the station and decide that we need to go back through the station which will cost us about $4HKD ($0.65 USD). We enter at Exit C and move through the station to Exit G and wait. And wait, and wait. CY finally calls me and asks me where I am. I finally realize that I am at the wrong exit. We connect back up with CY and meet the Lawtons on our way back to the restaurant and met Maria and Emily at the restaurant.

We have a nice meal and enjoy the discussion and conversation. It is the first gospel conversation we have really had in many months. It is nice to hear discussion about the church and to hear those topics spoken out loud in public. We will meet the Lawtons at the LDS Temple tomorrow night.

We have our shopping bags and backpacks with us. We are planning to go to the Ladies Market shopping this afternoon. We have no idea what to expect but we anticipate it to be an out of this world experience.

I have read much about the shopping in Hong Kong and it is one of those experiences that were my Father’s sea stories from his WestPac in 1961. Some of the memorable purchases he made were made in Hong Kong. We are beginning our real shopping experience at Ladies Market. I admit that the literature and discussions I have heard about this location do not do it justice. It really is something that must be experienced to be understood. The street is filled with vendors, literally filled with vendors. The space between the vendor stalls that is used by the pedestrians is about 2 meters wide. That space is very rarely unoccupied.

I have been concerned about pickpockets from the moment I knew I was going to be leaving the US. I have been worried about being a victim of this crime. I know that being in this kind of environment is a prime location for pickpockets. People bumping and shoving and jostling each other creates the kind of environment that allows pickpockets to work their magic. I have taken some precautions but I am still worried. Are we just paranoid or have we taken adequate measures to show that we are unlikely targets? We will never know but we do know that we escaped the experience without the loss of anything that was ours to begin with.

We find the shopping to be everything we had hoped for. We have eyed tea sets when we have been in stores in Qingdao and Haiyang, I have been unwilling to spend the $300-800 RMB to get a nice set. I now understand why, the exact same sets here are selling for about $100-150 HKG ($1 USD is about $7.8 HKD and $1 RMB is about $6.4RMB). I feel like we can make some purchases for Christmas presents. I am not sure what to think about this whole bargaining for the final price.

My ability to bargain is limited. I think that it is something that is almost a hard-wire problem. I don’t know what it is that limits me in this area; I have known it is a problem. I am too willing to pay the price asked for something that I want. I first realized this when I was shopping with my buddy in Albuquerque, NM at the flea markets and yard sales. I just am not willing to negotiate. I think it might be that I want it and am not really willing and maybe capable of walking away from it which is something that is required in this kind of negotiation process.

We find that there is a lot of duplication between shops over this 3 block bizarre. I have now realized that I can walk away if I am not happy with the price. I will get another opportunity less than a hundred feet away and I will have the advantage of knowing what was asked at the last shop. I use this information to my advantage. We are able to purchase many interesting and beautiful items for our friends and family. I have become a pack mule for the numerous bags of items that we have acquired. I am beginning to wonder about our weight restrictions to return home for our bags. Even though we packed light, the tea sets are HEAVY.

I have long admired a type of silk embroidery that I have observed at work and at our neighbors. We find a shop that has a number of these available. I find many that I really like and I am able to negotiate the purchase of 4 that we really enjoy. I am able to get them for a cool $500HKD (we actually got a couple of these $500 and $1,000 HKD bills out of an ATM which is almost frightening when you first see them, we have to remember that $125 HDK is less than $15 USD). The sticker shock of spending $500 and $1,000 bills is still unnerving. It still has value but after some times it feels like Monopoly Money too.

We find clothes for the grandchildren and trinkets and gifts for others on our gift list. We stop shopping only because I cannot carry any more than I already have. I have become nervous again about someone doing a snatch and run on my little bags of treasures. It is time for us to return to our hotel and inventory what we have after several hours of frenzied negotiations and purchases.

We take the subway to our station and exit. This time we are tired and the bags are heavy, there is no thought about walking the several blocks to the hotel, we pony up for the cab. It costs us about $25 HKD (about $3 USD) to get from the station to the Courtyard by Marriott.

We enjoy the Concierge Level and its associated perks. The food isn’t anything to brag about but the price is just right. We pack our treasures away as we prepare our bags for the next day’s adventures. We are going to be checking out of the hotel tomorrow. We are going to be staying with the Lawtons the following night and will need to have a change of clothes to wear the following morning but more importantly we will need to have clothes that are appropriate to go to the LDS Temple.


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