Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Episode 7: The Hong Kong Special

I've spent my time in Hong Kong all for different reasons. The first time, I flew into Hong Kong late and took the ferry to Macau the following day. I was able to stay at my cousin Jeannie and her family's place. The second time was a couple weeks later. Her husband Mark showed me around the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood in Kowloon, Hong Kong, opposite of the Central district of Hong Kong Island. My goal: a camera.

Panasonic Lumix GF2

Hong Kong is known for sourcing camera equipment to professionals and amateurs alike. So I did my research on the interwebs. A couple of places had good reviews. Instead of going a couple days to every camera shop in Hong Kong, Mark and I decided to stay in Tsim Sha Tsui as there are plenty of reputable stores there. We eventually found Tin Cheung Camera- it had relocated from the street shop to the third floor of the mall on the same block. Walking into the shop was like walking into the local Bentley, Rolls Royce, or Ferrari dealership. Leica, Canon, Nikon, 35mm, medium format, DSLRs, college education price tag lenses, you name it. Camera heaven.

Yu's Camera was second on the list and after wandering around, we finally found it. The camera I was hunting for was an old model and my timing couldn't have been better. Stores like Fortress (the equivalent of Target) even said it was discontinued and I'd have to go to secondhand shops. The owner Alan had reduced the price only a couple days ago. Judging by my research, it was the cheapest one could find in Hong Kong. Armed with the pride of my findings, I made sure and walked away from the deal and eventually bought my new Lumix GF2. Mark acted as my Cantonese interpreter and Alan even knew some Tagalog. With the deal, I was able to afford a tripod, case and UV filter as well at Tin Chueng. With my limited exposure to camera shops, I would recommend his shop over any place in Hong Kong.

Yu's Camera
Take the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Tsim Sha Tsui exit D2.
Up the escalator, turn left, cross the street.
The 3rd or 4th shop to the left, inside the walk-through building.
Monday - Saturday: 10:00am - 7:40pm
Sunday - Sunday: 10:00am - 2:00pm

Dim Sum: cheap and only served for lunch.
The next time I came back to Hong Kong was with the rest of the group. Dim Sum was on the menu for lunch then went around Hong Kong Park. There we saw ancient Chinese stamps that are used similar to wax seals back in the day. Then there was a museum of teaware that explained everything from the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, to different kinds of tea and preparation. Later that night, we caught the tram up to The Peak where all the tourists go to see the entirety of the Hong Kong skyline and Kowloon. We were to catch the "light show" at 20:00 that night, though fog rolled in and made our way down, waiting much like a ride in Disneyland down the Peak. I was to escort the group to the ferry terminal to depart from Kowloon but found out the last ferry was 22:30 and we were almost an hour late. So they took a taxi back while I stayed at Mark and Jeannie's. I felt terrible since I knew my way around. It was a whole fiasco but we all made it to our destinations eventually.

The Peak
The next day I was able to sleep in a little bit and we had sushi for lunch. My favorite are the spider hand rolls, made of soft crab, rice, seaweed and some sort of delectable special sauce. New sushi I tried were swordfish, some seasoned octopus, beef (I know I gave up meat, but it was offered to me!) and a variety of seared, seasoned, and fresh sushi.

Spider Handroll & Matcha Tea
Deep-fried Oyster & Seasoned Octopus

Swordfish & yet another cup of Matcha

What I like most about Hong Kong is that it's gigantic. What would be considered "downtown"- Central & Tsim Sha Tsui is relatively small, but Hong Kong Island, plus Kowloon, Lantau, the Outlying Islands, and the New Territories make up the country of Hong Kong. Next time, I'll bike and hike around Lantau and the New Territories and report back on my adventures.

Until next time.

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