Ladies Market Round 2
So tonight I went to the Ladies Market for the second Friday in a row. I had wanted to go to the Temple/Night Market tonight, but one of my friends who was coming with me had gone to that one before. If you remember from last week, the Ladies Market is in Mong Kok, which was the named 'the busiest district' in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. That being said, I don't like going to Mong Kok unnecessarily because it is always so busy and packed with people. Whenever I come back from traveling to Mong Kok I always think how Kennedy Town is so empty!
I still really enjoy eating the egg waffle bubble's, although my favorite one still has to be the one from Oddies last weekend. What can beat an egg waffle bubble that has brownie mixed into it? In Mong Kok I found my favorite Hong Kong dumpling place, so we decided to eat there for dinner.
As for shopping, I didn't really get much of anything because they had the same stalls with the same items as last week, and I had already picked over what I liked. Below are some cool cards that only two stalls sold. The Ladies Market goes on for four blocks, and many of the stalls have similar or the same items.
I can't believe tomorrow's already the first day of October! I've completed five weeks of school already, and I'm already more than 1/3 done with the semester. My brother went home from school this weekend to see Sasha, and I am so jealous! :(
Sasha, I will see you soon (two months)!!
Tonight I decided to go out for Happy Hour (which is something I rarely do here). Happy Hour here usually starts early evening like the U.S., but then goes way later than at home (until 8pm or 9pm) at many places. I didn't have a particular place that I wanted to go, so I set off to walk around Kennedy Town. After stopping at a few places and looking at menus, I decided on Tequila on Davis which is a Mexican restaurant.
I have been wanting to try Tequila on Davis since getting here, but haven't gone since the prices are pretty high. However, since it was Happy Hour the prices were average compared to the other places nearby. I ordered a strawberry margarita which was delicious! I also ordered fresh homemade chips and fresh pico which were amazing. Since I can't find any salsa here, I am now inspired to attempt to make fresh pico since it doesn't require any cooking (no oven here). I splurged a bit, but isn't that what studying abroad is all about??
The original plan for tonight was not supposed to be Mr. Wong's. We had been planning on going to NOM (Not Only Meatballs) as there had been a Facebook event advertising all you can eat Italian food (pizza, pasta, meatballs) plus two glasses of wine for less than $9 USD. I had class until 6:20pm, so we all met at the Central MTR station after my class and then walked about fifteen minutes to the restaurant. Unfortunately, by the time we got there NOM was full and not accepting any more people. There was a big group of people that were already waiting outside, and more coming while we were leaving all turned away.
I was sad because I was hoping for some nice Italian food!! However tonight was the first night of the promotion, so I should have known it would've been packed. Anyways, I will try again on another Wednesday after the excitement and newness calms down.
We decided to just go to Mr. Wongs because we were already half way there and just had to jump on another MTR line from Central. Pictured above you can see my dinner, as that was the only dish served without any meat. However I really enjoyed the broccoli, peanuts, sauce and rice mix, so I didn't mind. We were also able to get iced tea with lemons, one of the most popular drinks here (and one of my favorites!).
One more day of classes tomorrow, then the weekend! The countdown to reading week has officially begun - I will be leaving two weeks from tomorrow!
Since it's Sunday, I didn't do much today besides studying and some home work. However, I decided to post what I had today for lunch since I went out to eat. I ate at a mainly dumpling restaurant in Kennedy Town (because I didn't want to go far) and ordered boiled veggie dumplings. They were really good for such a great price, so I will definitely be going again. So far they're the best dumplings I've eaten in Hong Kong, but not as good as my favorite ones from home that are from Char Koon. Then for dessert (and the walk back up the huge hill) I got a simple vanilla ice cream from McDonalds, which cost about $.52 USD. It is still hot here, as it was 90 F with humidity bringing the 'real temp' to feel like 100 F. Hopefully it will cool down soon! School tomorrow :(
Mos Burger and a Baby Black & Tan Shiba Inu
Today I took the MTR to Sheung Wan, which is one stop before Central (not too far). Once in Sheung Wan I wanted to eat somewhere new, as I had never been to this part of Hong Kong island before. I decided to try Mos Burger, which serves a variety of burgers. I ordered a fish burger, a side salad with sesame dressing and iced tea. The food was good, but a little pricey for the quality and size (the burger was pretty small).
The second two pictures above are of a baby Shiba Inu that I saw while walking in Sheung Wan on the sidewalk. It was so cute that I had to stop and talk to the owner. The Shiba reminded me of a baby Sasha, since they are both have the black and tan coloring. Seeing the puppy made me want to get another! ; )
So yesterday when I was on Instagram an add popped up for this ice-cream store called Oddies Foodies and they also serve the egg bubble waffles which I am currently obsessed with. Coincidentally the store is also located in Sheung Wan, which was where I was already planning to go. After getting there, everything looked amazing and I couldn't decide what to get - but I ended up choosing the "Night Wolf". The "Night Wolf" is "Italian low fat twist soft gelato, butter crumbs, scoop of gelato-of-the-day, passion fruit panna cotta, brownie chocolate chip eggettes and crunchy flakes" aka the best thing I've ever tasted. It was huge, but I managed to preserve and finish most of it, as it was expensive (for HK) and delicious. I will definitely be coming back again next time I am in Sheung Wan.
We5 Shiba Inu's (The Best Day Ever!)
Last month when I first got here, a friend and fellow exchange student posted a picture on Facebook of five red and tan Shiba Inu's on the street. They were so cute, and I knew immediately that I needed to find them and pay them a visit. I didn't know how to find them, so I just googled "Shiba Inu's Hong Kong" and searched the results that came up. Miraculously I was able to find an article about them, which led me to both a Facebook and an Instagram account for the dogs. I messaged the owner on Facebook asking how I could possibly meet them, and today I was finally able to.
They live in Sheung Wan, so I traveled to the street where they normally hangout to visit. I talked to the owner, petted them and took lots of pictures with them for an hour and a half. It made me so happy to be able to meet them and spend some time with them. I know that at home Sasha would be jealous (of course she is 1000x cuter than they are).
In the cooler months the owner hangs out with his Shiba's at this location and sells a book he wrote about his five dogs. He also offers the option to take photos with a high quality camera while walking all five dogs, which I did (I will post them once he sends them to me). He doesn't have a steady job, and he pours all of his resources and profits into his dogs. I can tell that he takes very good care of his Shiba's and treats them like his family, making them his number one priority.
What a wonderful and eventful day of exploring a new area, trying some excellent food and visiting my favorite breed of dog. Hopefully I get another chance to see them before I leave!
I really liked the tea sets and soup bowls shown in the second picture, but was worried that they would easily break in my suitcase on the way back home.
Today being Friday, I decided to check out two of Hong Kong's markets in the evening. Hong Kong is famous for it's markets that sell fake anything you can imagine. There was everything from fake Beats, Louis Vuitton and Rolex. However, I did not get any of those things. I was looking for souvenirs to bring back to some friends and family.
The Ladies Market is located in Mong Kok, so I had to take the "Island Line" MTR to Central, get off at Central and then board the "Tseun Wan Line" to cross the water and go to the part of Hong Kong that is attached to Mainland China.
I had talked to other exchange student's and read reviews online beforehand, and they all advised to bargain hard. I had never done this kind of bargaining before, so I was a little nervous; I had also heard that some of the sellers can be very pushy and others even down right rude if someone didn't buy whatever they were selling.
The first booth I went up to played out exactly as I had imagined - awkward - and I walked away with nothing. However, after the first one was over with, I became more confident about bargaining with the sellers. The strategy I figured out was to ask how much an item was, then cut that number in half, and then start the bargaining. I got many of the items I was interested in for half the price or less than originally stated. Also, almost none of the items being sold had any sort of price tag or sign. I'm assuming that was the case so the sellers can choose whatever price they feel they can get out of you. Some of the sellers spoke better English than others, and some spoke none. However, they all knew how to use a simple calculator to type in whatever price they were asking for and to show you how much the item "usually" costs, to show you "what a great deal!" you're getting. I would normally use the calculator to throw back my counter offer, as it was much easier for communicating. If the price was still more than I wanted to pay I would say something along the lines of "ahhh too much!" and then start to walk away. 8/10 times this tactic would work and the seller would chase after you and accept your lowest price or return with another price that was significantly less than what they had previously stated was "the lowest they could go".
So, what did I get?
Luckily most of my friends from home do not read my website, so I can post what I got here for you all to see. In the first picture, the three bags are a good size for makeup or to store items in a bigger purse (such as a Longchamp) and I got those for a few of my friends back home. I thought the design was cool, and as many of the shops sold them in various sizes and colors so it was easy to bargain with the sellers. The middle picture is of the only souvenir I have purchased for myself since being here, it's a "100% silk" robe. I was hesitant to purchase it, not knowing when I would ever wear something like this, but decided it was a good souvenir and I could wear it over pajamas at home. I was able to negotiate the cost to less than half of the original price, and left with only one (the lady selling it kept insisting I needed two and that she could give me a "special low low price"). Finally the third picture is of unfortunately fake sushi magnets. My roommate from last year loves sushi (she was actually the one to get me to like it) so I thought that this would be a perfect start to a Christmas gift for her.
I purchased one other item today, but what it is and who it is for I cannot say as I know they read my posts. ; ) The Ladies Market goes on for four-five blocks, so by the time I had made my way through everything I was overwhelmed, hot and tired. Like I mentioned above I had been planning on also going to a second market, called "The Night Market"/"Temple Market" but I did not think I could make it through another couple hours of perusing the stalls and haggling prices (plus I was very hungry as I had not eaten since very early in the day).
It was definitely a new, unique experience, and I was able to manage to stay away from the counterfeit goods. I definitely plan on going to The Night Market eventually, which is located about thirty minutes walking or ten minutes taxi away from the Ladies Market (and three stops closer on the MTR!). Maybe I can even get there next weekend!
Tomorrow I have a fun afternoon planned, but you will have to wait and see until my next post! Time to go to sleep now, as it is almost midnight. I'm still getting used to how weird it is to be twelve hours ahead of home. Right now, most of you are getting ready to eat lunch and it's almost noon (middle of the day on Friday) but it's Friday night and almost Saturday for me.
I forgot to mention, I have been officially here for a month! My flight was August 23rd, and now it's September 23rd. It feels as if I've been here for so much longer though - I can barely remember what I did when I first arrived (good thing I have my website to look back on ;) ).
Today being Thursday, it's my last day of classes for the week (no classes on Fridays)! Since I was done at 12:20pm, I decided to come straight back from HKU and eat lunch in Kennedy Town rather than somewhere on campus.
After walking around for a bit, I finally decided to splurge on Cali-Mex, a semi fast-food Mexican restaurant. It is not expensive in terms of U.S. prices, being similar to Moe's or Chipotle, but I have been used to getting inexpensive Asian food or food on campus.
I got a salad with black beans, refried beans (I don't like them, but I didn't realize that they came with the meal), pico, medium salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and a tiny bit of cheese all inside a chip bowl. This is similar to what I always order at Moe's Southwest Grille at home, and anybody that knows me knows that Moe's is my favorite restaurant of all time. I have been going through Moe's withdrawals, as they do not have Moe's here. I have already planned that Moe's will be my first meal when I get back home.
The food was such a nice change to the mostly Asian food that is here, as I still much prefer Western food. However it definitely did not measure up to Moe's, and they also did not offer unlimited free chips and salsa! I will be going back once in awhile to treat myself, unless I find another Mexican place that I prefer. Since I spent today on one meal what I usually spend for food all day, I will be making myself a cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich for dinner.
I have been looking for tortilla chips, salsa and sour cream at the grocery stores here but cannot find any salsa. This has been very sad, as that is one of my favorite snacks.
Well enough about food... At least for today!
I have officially started adapting to the weather here. Today it is 88 deg F, sunny with only 60% humidity! I would've never thought that this weather would feel so good. Back at home I would've been complaining about a day like today. This is the lowest percentage of humidity that I have experienced in the past month since being here, and I am loving it. The weather can make a big difference on how I am feeling, and when I first got here I could not go for more than a minute outside without starting to sweat.
Looking ahead: October "Fall" Weather
The weather in Hong Kong in October is supposed to be less humid and the temperature usually falls between mid 80's-mid 70's. I am so excited for that weather, and am counting down the days until then. However, when I come back home after being in this hot weather for so long, my system is going to go into shock because of how cold it will be (maybe there will be snow!). Since I will go straight from summer weather in Hong Kong to winter weather in New England, I will have missed the NE fall season, and unfortunately apple cider donuts.
Since I am on campus during the lunch hours during the week, I usually eat at a cafe here. Today, I tried Super Super (which I had never been to before). I ordered shrimp wonton with noodles, and I thought it was OK (didn't love it). It was very cheap though, and filling, so my money was not wasted. In the pictures it shows chopsticks, but, disclaimer - I still struggle greatly to use them and usually end up using a fork, spoon and knife. To me using a fork, spoon and knife still seem way easier (and more efficient).
Reading Week Trips
After weeks of debating, myself and a couple others finally booked our reading/travel week trips! Reading week is the third week of October, but we are leaving the night of Thursday, October 13th and returning the night of Saturday, October 22nd. Since reading week is four weeks away, it was about time we all figured everything out.
We decided to travel to both Thailand and Singapore to maximize our travels. We are flying to Bangkok, Thailand first and spending two full days there. Next we are flying to Phuket, Thailand (an hour and twenty-five minute flight) and spending four days there. Finally, we are ending our trip in Singapore for the remaining time before we fly back to Hong Kong.
Regarding accommodations we booked three airbnb's at great prices. All three places have pools, and have gotten great reviews by many people on the website. We don't have specific plans while we are there yet, but at least we booked the flights and places to stay so we know we're going! More details to come.
You can expect lots of pictures!
Chi Sun Beach BBQ
Today Chi Sun organized a beach BBQ for our residential college. The bus picked us up at 3:30pm and it took about forty minutes to get to Shek O (the beach). Only about thirty people attended, out of hundreds and I was surprised that more did not sign up.
I was able to swim for a little bit until BBQ dinner at 6pm, and a group of us swam out to the circular floating rafts (pictured below). The water was decently warm, but very, very salty. As soon as we got out of the water the salt dried and we could see the salt on our skin.
The BBQ part was fun, although I got really hot when cooking my food from the fire as it was still warm outside. Unfortunately there were no chocolate or graham crackers to make s'mores with the marshmallows. The bus picked us up at 9pm, and we were back before 10pm. I am so tired from the past few very busy days, that I am planning on going to sleep early tonight.