The Bird Market in Yuen Po Street Gardens

Just around the corner from the flower shops I climb some steps to the tranquility of the Bird Market. Here enthusiasts, all men, bring their singing birds to show off to each other & anyone passing. Captured in beautiful lacquered cages these minute bejewelled creatures sing out to the world under the gaze of their proud owners.

20141216073042_IMG_6920 20141216074227_IMG_6970 20141216074025_IMG_6965 20141216075326_IMG_7015 20141216074311_IMG_6974 20141216074906_IMG_6997

Some come to buy a new addition to their choral menagerie. So many factors need to be taken into account that any decision seems to take an age.

20141216075035_IMG_7001 20141216074532_IMG_6984 20141216073509_IMG_6938

Some are here to buy cages or perches or cage hoods or feed – large plastic bags which hold egg cartons & hundreds of large juicy crickets.

20141216080213_IMG_7036 20141216080023_IMG_7028 20141216073600_IMG_6943

My favourite place so far.

A merry Hong Kong Christmas

Am breaking off from the events of the blog to share some Yuletide images from Hong Kong. I hope you all have a wonderful festive day with whoever you are with. Thank you for following me & I look forward to sharing more of my travels with you in 2015.

20141216071223_IMG_6877 20141215122910_IMG_6558 20141215122544_IMG_6550 20141215104004_IMG_6490 20141215073506_IMG_6308 20141217021242_IMG_7051 20141218115503_IMG_7723 20141215105533_IMG_6506

 

Flower shops on Flowermarket Street

It’s just what it says on the map – a block of 3/4 streets that house, side by side, flower shops of every size, type & description. Shops overflow with crates & pots, with cut flowers & potted plants. The clusters of pink & red & white roses compete with the tall elegance of purple orchids & 20141216071638_IMG_6888 20141216071819_IMG_6895 20141216071054_IMG_6870 20141216071333_IMG_6880 20141216071854_IMG_6897 20141216072254_IMG_6906

with a thousand bright red poinsettia ready for Christmas displayed within & outside a fair number. Some offer bouquets already assembled & displayed whilst others house sellers cutting & arranging floral tributes for every occasion. Each shop specialises not only in the type of plant but in a certain colour of the spectrum & artists’ palette.

The customers search through the hundreds of seemingly similar plants or bunches or bouquets to find that one perfect bloom or arrangement for that special person or that special place in their home or that special festival or occasion. Their faces reflect the concentration they bring to their quest.

20141216071220_IMG_6876 20141216071156_IMG_6874 20141216071425_IMG_6882 20141216072101_IMG_6901

 

 

 

The fish shops of Tung Choi Street

I head up Nathan Road, take a right then a left & walk up Tung Choice Street, home to 40 or so shops that sell all the paraphanalia required to keep tropical fish. It seems this is a popular past-time for ordinary Hong Kong folk. Some solely stock aquarium (or is it aquaria) & equipment of all descriptions; some just sell pond weed of every type but all oxyginating to keep waters clear; and then the ones that sell the livestock of all shapes & sizes & colours but basically blends of orange. Gurgling tanks hold swaying goldfish of assorted sizes. Then from metal grids hang loads & rows of small plastic bags with a couple of small feathery delicate fish, so fragile they might hurt themselves on their invisible walls. An occasional tank holds a big bruiser of a carp or some weird turtle.

20141216064113_IMG_6823 20141216064028_IMG_6819 20141216064402_IMG_6826

I suppose once they get a home they are cared for in a nice clear, controlled environment. Keeping fish is big business in Hong Kong, almost as big as catching & eating it – all those whole fish, groupers & snappers & swordfish & catfish, and the prawns & clams & squid that feature as the basis of delicious street food, a family’s home meal or on every restaurant menu.

At the top of Tung Choi Street I rest in a small park in the shadow of the overpass along with other residents of Kowloon.

20141216065441_IMG_6840

20141216065521_IMG_6844

20141216070015_IMG_6849

20141216070548_IMG_6859

Having recharged my batteries I cross under the overpass, cross over a number of roads to find Flower Market Road. I wonder what is sold there? Find out next time.

20141216070944_IMG_6868

 

 

Across to the high life & markets of Kowloon

With an early start I get the tram to Central & walk down to pier 7.

20141215082536_IMG_6365 20141216043415_IMG_6639

Once across the water I head up Canton Road where the rich & famous, well, not famous to me, are seen to do their labelled shopping. It seems bankers & property owners are particularly keen. All the big names are there & provide a wonderful backdrop for some interesting images. Can you guess these –

20141216050734_IMG_6704 20141216051457_IMG_6726 20141216051802_IMG_6730 20141216051926_IMG_6738

 

20141216052419_IMG_6746

Up past the glitter & the golden reflections real Kowloon emerges with ordinary people living & working ordinary lives.

20141216062736_IMG_6786

20141216062921_IMG_6789 20141216063006_IMG_6791 20141216063327_IMG_6802 20141216052927_IMG_6752 20141216063355_IMG_6806 20141216063433_IMG_6809

More to follow as I go deeper into the delights of busy Kowloon.

 

 

A Christmassy Hong Kong at night

Victoria Harbour comes alive at night. As offices & shops close down & the locals rush for trams & buses & taxis, the neon comes alive, gradually at first. Then suddenly you look up and the place is ablaze on both sides of the water. Floor after floor of offices & apartments in the highrisers are lit up staring out over the water hiding all sorts of treasures behind their night lights. For a clear view I take the Star Ferry across to Kowloon. Lit up like a spotlight on a stage set we sit exposed to the world by the orange glow of naked lights on board & watch the land leave & go as the ferry crosses through the darkness. Other boats match our path & guard our sides as we plod on to safety.

Once there a short walk up to the terrace, a glass of Shiraz and an opportunity to gaze over the lights of Hong Kong.

20141215105956_IMG_6509 20141215112528_IMG_6517

Impressed? Up close you can see Christmas themes on some of the buildings – dancing Santa’s, neon snowflakes landing on Christmas trees, pink presents, everything is pink or neon gold, pink presents, the ubiquitous panda highlighted in glorious red & regal purple. The vessels, lit up with their own lights scurry between the shores. Can you see the dowh, its sails lit up in red?

20141215104856_IMG_6504

After all it is Christmas and celebrated in every country on the planet, it seems. Here piles of enormous red baubles compete with huge teddies   towering amongst giant presents in lobbies & entrances to malls, hotels & offices. Tinny musical box renditions of carols & Christmas favourites tinkle in the background everywhere. All workers in fast foodplaces have the must fashion accessory – a red Santa hat. Occasionally the real thing can be found.

20141215122647_IMG_6555 20141215122919_IMG_6560

I finish the evening off with a Korean bar-b-q.

20141215125506_IMG_6570

 

Central Pier – Hong Kong’s beating heart

On Hong Kong Island locals get about their business amongst the myriad of deep streets using trams, buses, vans & taxis. Only a very few possess & use cars. A series of tunnels & bridges link Hong Kong Island to the mainland & to Lantau Island. Hong Kong also relies on two other integrated transport systems to keep its composite elements connected – the underground Mass Transit Railway & the tentacles of ferry lines that spread to islands of all sizes from the seven piers of Central. The Octopus Card can be used to pay for journeys on all these different transport systems.

20141216043943_IMG_6651

The original green vessels of Star Ferries operate from Pier 7 & chunter backwards & forwards across Victoria Harbour linking Kowloon & Hong Kong Island on their 10 minute voyage. These are the original vessels that have plied the short route for over 100 years. A journey is a matter of pence with locals using the lower decks at an even cheaper rate whilst tourists tend to hurry to the upper deck with their cameras.

20141215102509_IMG_6461 20141215102030_IMG_6458 20141215102918_IMG_6475_1

Arriving from Kowloon.

20141215090957_IMG_6417_1

Leaving Hong Kog behind & crossing Victoria HarbourHarbour.

20141216045012_IMG_6663

20141216045131_IMG_6668

Heading over to Kowloon.

20141216044910_IMG_6660

& arrival on the mainland with crew waiting to hang on to flying ropes to tie us up.

 

Piers 1 to 6 are home to other lines linking the islands.

20141215092808_IMG_6447

Around the harbour speed ferries race around high up on their three skies, vehicle ferries plough steadily about, old two deck passenger ferries steadily cover their distance, huge tankers lie at anchor & dredgers scoop out their debris.