Temple Night Market Done Right
As many of you may or may not know, the last time we were in Hong Kong we did not do a very good job of it. We visited the Temple Street Night Market before it was open and never got back when it was. This was really disappointing to me. I kicked myself for months.
Well I finally made it there last night. I actually have a fellow blogger to thank since he had posted a quick link on Twitter about his wander through the market the night before. I will have to call out his name later though since I don’t have access to my Twitter account at the moment and I can’t remember his name.
His post got me revved up to go, even though my jet lag was still severe and I didn’t want to do much revving. Bed sounded so much better, but 4pm is not the time to go to sleep and work on switching time zones.
Dek napped for about 3-4 hours in the afternoon. I finally got him up around 5pm, much to his chagrin and protests, but it was day time and not bed time, and this was one way for me to force him to switch to Hong Kong time (15 hour difference from Seattle).
I tried to get Dek in the ErgoBaby, because I knew it would be much easier to travel on the MTR (subway) this way and also wander the market. Nope. He wasn’t having it. I just didn’t feel like arguing, so I plopped him in his stroller and we were on our way. The problem with the stroller is that the MTR entrance, at least the one near us, had a lot of steps and no elevator that I could see. Thankfully all I had was a light umbrella stroller with me. So I folded it up, picked Dek up and we headed down 3 levels.
The ticket machines were so easy. I wish we had machines like that in the states. All you do is push the stop you would like to go to on the touch screen, it tells you how much it will cost, you put your money in and it spits out a ticket. Simple. At least once I figured out that was all I needed to do.
For some reason I thought I needed an Octopus Card, which is a tourist card that includes transportation. This made no sense since I was only there one day and only needed to make 2 trips. It cost me HK$8, which is just over US$1 to go round trip. Very nice. Can we also have subway fares like that in the USA? My bus ride to work costs US$2.25 each way!
Off to the Jordon stop we went. Dek was thrilled that he was going to ride a train. Other passengers scooted out-of-the-way so we could cram in. I tried to stay close to the door since we were only going one stop. I still had Dek in my arms since the place was crowded and in the back of my mind is always the fear that he will get snatched in large crowds. I’m a mom. It’s my job to worry.
We made it to our stop, walked up 3 more flights of steps and finally I was able to use that darn stroller I had lugged around. That kid ain’t light.
Because I had already been to the market once before, I quickly found Temple Street and we started wandering through the very tiny pathway of vendors.
The sidewalks were a bit more open since they only show the back of the stalls, so I grabbed a juice and slipped down one to take a breather. I think Dek got his first look at a hooker along this sidewalk. My first clue should have been that there were a lot of nude magazines and video shops on this side of the street, but I’m clueless most of the time when I wander. I got one weird look from a guy hanging out in a doorway, but no one bothered us. There were a few girls hanging out, usually alone. I am not 100% sure they were ladies of the night, but I’ve seen a few prostitutes in my life, and I got a bit of a vibe. They were all very nice though and smiled at us.
I slipped back onto the market path and continued to look at all the cheap Chinese goods, t-shirts and delicious smelling food. One of my favorite shops was of bad English translations. Very wisely they had a huge sign saying no pictures unless you paid first. I did not. I wasn’t in the mood. I could have snuck a picture, I do it all the time when people tell me not too, but having Dek with me made things a little harder. Yet another pitfall of traveling alone with a small child. I’ll get the hang of this though.
Honestly the market was like many other asian markets I’ve seen. I actually liked the street markets in Singapore better. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to visit still, I think I just built it up more in my head. I actually thought it would be bigger, when in fact, I only saw a few blocks. Maybe I didn’t go all the way up? Did I miss a turn?
Now the food really was a good reason to go. Dek and I pulled up a stool at Temple Spice Crab and I ordered us a plate of fried noodles. I really wanted the spiced crab or even the deep-fried ginger crab, but the portions were huge and I knew Dek wouldn’t eat anything spicy. I needed something we could share. Dek has not been a fan of Chinese food so far, but he happily gobbled up those noodles. I was so relieved. Once we get out to the printers in Shenzhen, we will have access to nothing but Chinese food. He needs to get used to it.
After noodles, Dek was showing signs of a melt down, and I was eager to get back to the hotel and lie down myself. We hopped back on the MTR, much to Dek’s delight as he screamed for joy when the train pulled up. A very nice man tried to offer me his seat, but I graciously declined since I was only going once stop.
I really do love the chivalry I have experienced in Asia. I miss it when I’m back home. I’m a liberated woman to be sure, but I really like it when I get an extra hand if you see me struggling or you open a door for me, especially if I have a stroller and I’m doing the “one hand push with the butt holding the door open while I maneuver the stroller under me” dance. You know the one. Come on people, it’s not that hard to help out your fellow (wo)man.
It took a while for us both to settle in for the night, but I’m happy to report we were both asleep by 9pm and only had one night-time waking for about 30 minutes when we heard the club goers coming back. Next thing I knew it was 6am and Dek was standing in his travel crib and watching me sleep. Little creepy, but also very cute.