Day 2 ~ Shopping

I woke up at 6:45am this morning. Just sort of popped awake. Which NEVER happens. Awesome. Maybe sleeping with the curtains wide open is a good idea.

It had stopped raining sometime during the night but was pretty overcast. Since today was our only true “day off”, we decided to make the most of it and start early. I knew it had to be done but I wasn’t looking forward to the inaugural shower use. You can’t see clearly in the picture I posted yesterday but it’s literally a powder room with a shower head in it. And so weird with the toilet on the same side of the (useless) curtain. And the toilet paper! (We have to take it off the wall each time we use the shower.) Also, there is a switch for the hot water on the wall outside the bathroom. And apparently, it takes 10 minutes to heat up. Which we keep forgetting.

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light switches here are different – up is off/down is on, and most of the electrical sockets have switches that turn them on and off too

All-in-all, it wasn’t that bad. The water did heat up as I was using it. And it is a removable showerhead, which is preferable. I’m sure I’ll get used to the water spraying all over the toilet and bathroom floor as time goes on.

As I was getting ready, my roommates had an impromptu yoga lesson in the living room. Girl Roomie is a yoga instructor. I’m sure it will happen again and I already informed them photographic impressions of their morning living room yoga sessions will end up on my blog. (She even had another girl (Tumblr Girl) doing yoga with her at our gate in the Toronto airport.)

When we were all ready to go, we decided to go in search of food. Two steps out of our apartment is a tiny bakery. Boy Roomie and I both bought cha siu bao. It was yummy but not quite as good as the one from last night, but definitely edible. It wasn’t enough to fill us up though, so we weren’t done. On our way, we wanted to pick up 2 more sets of keys for our place, so we stopped by the main location of YesInn. The office wasn’t open yet but we did run in to the three girls who are staying in the other other location. So, while two of them went… somewhere (I forget where), the other (Tumblr Girl) joined us for food. We ended up walking a bit down “our” street (Anchor Street) and around a corner at some tiny hole-in-the-wall type place.

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Anchor Street and Tong Mi Road intersection, looking back towards our temporary home

But this was only after walking in to what looked like a nicer place that would probably be out of our price range and turning right around and leaving again. As soon as we walked in, the lady said, “No English.” Nice. Very welcoming. We stayed anyway because she gave us a menu that had a few pictures on it. I saw sticky rice next to a cup of tea and ordered that. I asked for milk in it. I don’t understand exactly what it is I actually got, but it was orange and very oily looking (the picture does not accurately depict the horror of the situation).

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turns out, this is “Hong Kong style milk tea”

I tried a sip and it tasted like creamy metal. The rice wasn’t too bad though. The typical nub of wiener was present but also most of a full chicken wing (skin on), which I have never encountered. Needless to say, both were picked out. At first, I was the only one who was going to order, but Boy Roomie and Tumblr Girl saw a girl eating noodles and beef and ordered that to split. Girl Roomie is vegetarian and didn’t see anything palatable. They enjoyed their meal much more than I did. I learned my lesson. Never order milk tea in HK again.

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Boy Roomie and Tumblr Girl splitting their noodles

Afterwards, we hit up 7-11 for a “real” drink and I got bottled milk tea – like what I subsisted on when I was in Japan. Ah, the sweet taste of familiarity. (I’m am still dying for just a regular cup of tea though.)

We met back up with the other two girls (the four from the main location had left earlier to shop before we got there) and headed back to see if the office was open. It was. I discovered when we were in there getting keys that they have the washing machine there. And, oh happy day, a dryer as well. People here all hang their washing out their windows to dry. There are metal racks attached under the windows just for this purpose. No thanks. I will be carting my laundry over to that building to wash AND dry pretty soon. (The drying cycle apparently only takes 23 minutes.)

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closet space is at a premium here

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After that is when the day’s true adventure began. The six of us headed to a nearby shopping area called Mong Kok. That’s where the Ladies’ Market is but we started at a mall there first (no idea what it’s called*). It was niiiiiiice. And expensive.

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shopping buddies for the day

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Fancypants Mall

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We didn’t realize that stores don’t open until 11am here and it was still before 10. Our actual purpose in going there wasn’t really to shop. Roomies had looked up nearby gyms online to use while we’re here. Boy Roomie is into working out and weights and stuff, and Girl Roomie, obviously, does yoga every day. So we wanted to check it out. It’s crazy expensive (the top gym in all of HK, we were told) and they don’t do free trials unless you have a HK ID (as in, you are a resident), monthly fees are around $350, and day passes are $50ish (Canadian… not HKD). This is a no. But you know how gyms are… A guy named Joe sat the two of them down and gave them the whole spiel. They had to fill out this form just to take a tour. I wanted to see what the fuss was about so I filled one out too so I could join them. (The other three waited for us in the “chill out” lounge.

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It was easy to see why it was so expensive. It was a gorgeous club. I want to move in to their change room. It’s almost worth the $50 just so I could shower there.

We headed back out into the mall just as stores were starting to open. Tumblr Girl works at Teavana, which is owned by Starbucks so she gets a discount and wanted a drink. I don’t really drink anything from there, other than green tea frappuccinos, but I went with her because I had an idea… When I was in Japan (I promise I will stop saying that soon.), they had this vanilla chiffon cake I was in love with. Every single location. So every time we hit ‘Suta-ba’ in Japan, I had a piece. Hubby insisted I could get it at home. Needless to say, I haven’t had it since leaving there. So~ I thought, MAYBE… And this is what I found. I didn’t buy it, but I was very pleased.

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We walked around a bit of the mall for a bit. Not much. The other girls were looking for a particular area, but I wasn’t paying much attention and have no idea what it was specifically they wanted. We ended up going in to only one place. A Japanese style arcade. UFO catchers and purikura!

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Of course, I demanded that they all do purikura with me. (Boy Roomie declined.) For those that don’t know (which is likely everyone except Hubby, who I also dragged into several), purikura, or “print club” is a Japanese photobooth that prints out tiny pictures on sticker paper that you can cut out and put in special albums or decorate… whatever (usually your cell phone). They all have themes or gimmicks. The one I picked for us today featured the San-X character Rilakkuma. Because Hubby loves him. ❤

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From the mall, we headed out to the Ladies’ Market. It’s known for being cheap, but we were told that the vendors will jack up their prices because we are tourists and they think we will pay it. You are SUPPOSED to barter. …I don’t like that. So we didn’t stay there. We went to another street with another market… I think. Again, I was not really shopping for anything so I was just following the others around not really paying attention to where I was going. (Not the wisest way to sightsee!) But before we left, we ran in to our flight attendants from the way here. So bizarre!

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I didn’t mention in that post a few memorable things about the flight since I passed out and then did just a quick update at the end… We really only dealt with the 4 of them that we ran in to. (They must be assigned separate sections, I guess.) They were all really nice. And young. There was 3 girls and a guy. We were joking around that the guy was hitting on Boy Roomie. (I’m pretty sure that was the case!) But, BR was also downing a lot of free wine and is very sociable so was giving it right back.

Also, the one with short curly hair had asked about my tattoo. She actually said, “Is that Weezer?” Then told me she liked them and asked if I was going to the Downsview Park show July 10th. (I’m not, but I am seeing them in Windsor on the 11th!) It was basically right after talking to fellow-Twi/Rob fan girl about BD2, so I was all thrilled about being able to talk about both my loves in one situation. That never happens.

I’m sure there is even more about the flight I wanted to remember, but am forgetting it already. 😦

So~ the market… It was one long street of mostly women’s stuff. We spent a few hours walking up and down. We kept splitting up into various groupings. Boy Roomie left us completely to go off on his own for a bit. I wish he blogged too cause he has hilarious encounters all the time. But they aren’t my stories to tell (if I’m not in them). I pretty much continued to follow along. I did end up buying one shirt though. Everyone needs to buy at least one good Engrish article while in Asia.

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When Girl Roomie and I had exhausted the offerings of the street, we met back up with Boy Roomie and found a place to eat. This one we asked before even going inside if they had an English menu. I ordered “beef with pan fried noodles”. I have no idea that what I was ordering was a curry dish. That was the extent of the English description. Hubby is probably laughing as he reads this. I hate curry. But I was starving. So I ate it anyway. My esophagus was burning. But I soothed it with my (non-black) Chinese tea. And Girl Roomie’s. And Boy Roomie’s. (No one but me seems to enjoy tea with Chinese food. For me, it’s necessary.)

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By the time we were done lunch, we were exhausted and needed to go back home to rest before our scheduled meeting at 5 with our supervising teacher. I think it was about 2pm at that point. We walked back, stopping at a “Japan Home Center” store (remind me later to mention the overabundance of Japanese stuff here and how that surprised me), so that I could buy a hairdryer (which I paid $99HKD for – the equivalent of $13!), hangers, and some reallllly ugly rubber flip-flops to wear in the bathroom to keep my feet dry.

…This post is way too long already and I haven’t finished the day yet. So I’m going to break it into two parts.

Two more notes before I end~ We were told that we wouldn’t need that much cash and that we could use our credit or debit cards practically anywhere we went. That is a big load of crap. Everyone pays with cash. For everything. Except when you use an Octopus card (more on that later).

I mentioned buying hangers. I had to get wire ones. Because there is no closet rod in our room. Boy Roomie has one. No fair! So I am hanging all my work clothes off the edge of my bunkbed. I needed wire hangers so I could bend the hooks perpendicular to the hanger. Ghetto much?

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*Note: Found out later that the fancy mall is Langham Place. It’s right there on the picture. Duh…

(originally posted to ngohheuihheunggong)

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