Wednesday, January 4, 2012


So I have returned to the US. Hong Kong and China were phenomenal....I think I love Hong Kong. I had to stop blogging because China blocks Blogger and other blogging sites from their servers so I could not access my blog at all, thus you have not heard from me for about a week. I really hope I get to go back again soon. On my last day in Hong Kong, before taking the ferry into China, I stumbled upon this gem (actually I found it in the guidebook):

Western Market (Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island)
This building, called "Western Market", was built in 1844 and is one of the oldest surviving structures on Hong Kong Island. There are very few Colonial era buildings left in Hong Kong. It has served many purposes over the years. Currently there are curio shops and eateries on the ground floor, the "first" floor (what I would call the second floor) is devoted to fabric merchants and the top floor is a venue with a dance floor and banquet facilities that is rented out for weddings and other events.

Fabric Vendors
There was such a plethora of fabric on offer that I was sort of overwhelmed, each stall is literally bursting at the seams and overflowing into the aisles. I ended up buying this really lovely striped silk organza, the strips are woven in alternating pink and white, not printed, from a very friendly vendor. We talked about fabric for a long time and he showed me all his really nice stuff. Apparently he buys the excess stock from different fabric mills that make fabrics for designers, the fabric doesn't say Chanel or Valentino on it because that's how the mills can sell it for cheap. When he first tried to tell me this I was skeptical, Hong Kong being the fake Rolex capital of the world. As he started showing me all of his stuff however, I started to believe him. Some of it was just really beautiful and high quality and it wasn't like he was showing me 50 yards of each of it, more like 5 yards of this or 8 yards of that. There is a website that I buy fabric from that has limited quantities of designer fabrics so I know it is possible to get it. I hadn't allowed fabric buying into my budget, I didn't know I was going to find this place, or I probably would have come back with a lot time though I'll be ready. 

I walked around Hong Kong Island and exercised my wallet for the rest of that day then hopped on the last ferry to China. We ferried up the Pearl River to Zhongshan were our business associates are located.

Taking Care of Business
Once we "alighted" from the ferry I realized how much different China is than Hong Kong. We stayed at a local hotel, the name of which I don't remember nor could I begin to try and pronounce it, that our Chinese business contacts setup for us. Next to the bed I was amused to find these items for sale:

Safe Sex...It's the same in any language.
I almost fell of the bed laughing when I realized what this stuff was. Two different types of condoms, lube and hand wipes! In all my time traveling I have only ever seen anything remotely like this once; in Las Vegas at the Wynn. It just seemed so out of place in this hotel room in a random city in China. This was a really nice hotel, not a rent by the hour room in a dingy boulevard motel. It was just too least they are encouraging the practice of safe sex. These are the types of things that are interesting to me when I travel. We are so globally interconnected that many things are very similar, the differences lie in the details. I feel like the unique details are the best way to gauge the differences and that they are reflective of the cultural sensibilities and preferences of a place.

The most startling, to me anyway, always seems to be the food! I am an adventurous eater and will basically try most things....but there are some things that just offend me because I have been conditioned to think of them as not food and I just can't emotionally overcome my repulsion. The sad thing is that I might actually like the taste, it might even be quite good but I just can't get there.

Yummy in someone else's tummy...sorry.
I thought Velociraptors went extinct billions of years ago?
Bird's nests and bird claws are not really my thing. I saw bird feet all over the place (I am not sure if those in the picture are chicken feet or what because the are huge) shark fins (which just became illegal to posses in California by the way) deer antlers, dried clams, mussels & assorted other seafood jerky and a whole lot of other food stuffs that are completely foreign from what I see at my local grocery store. I also came upon some very strange fruits that we do not have in the US, some good and some surprisingly bad. I always expect fruit to be tasty and awesome, I am shocked when it isn't! What I did eat though was very good and did not disappoint, except for said fruit which I think was a melon of some kind.

Anyway it was wonderful to have visited and I can't wait to go on another trip. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Now back to reality....and work.



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