After church today, Renee and I left the family in Craig’s care and headed back towards Hong Kong city to prowl through the markets. On our list were the Flower Market, Bird Market, Ladies’ Market, Goldfish Market and Night Markets — all located on the Kowloon peninsula, within easy walking distance of each other.

Hong Kong, October 2009
We enjoyed walking around downtown Kowloon, embracing the Hong Kong atmosphere (yet trying to avoid some of the more disturbing smells).

HK shops are open very late, even on weekends, and the Night Markets weren’t fully set up until close to 7 pm, so we had all afternoon and night to explore the area. The markets are notorious for their crowds, but a light rain kept many people away. So it turned out to be a wonderful day to visit. We were dripped on a bit, but dried out quickly in the warm weather.

Flower market, Hong Kong, October 2009
The Flower Market was two streets of flower stalls, nurseries and floral arrangement shops.

Flower market, Hong Kong, October 2009
The lotus blossom grows out of the murky mud at the bottom of ponds and symbolises perseverance through difficulties.

Flower market, Hong Kong, October 2009
Feeling romantic? Say it with flowers!

Flower market, Hong Kong, October 2009
This honeycomb was still dripping with honey. It's often combined with mushrooms or beancurd in Chinese cuisine.

Bird market, Hong Kong, October 2009
The Bird Market offers a range of songbirds in small cages, as well as a few parrots and lovebirds.

Bird Market, Hong Kong, October 2009
A lot of the cages were exquisite works of art in themselves.

Bird Market, Hong Kong, October 2009
Bags of live crickets and grasshoppers were also on sale as feed for the birds.

Bird Market, Hong Kong, October 2009
Birds with beautiful voices are prized over those with colourful plumage.

Goldfish Market, Hong Kong, October 2009
At the Goldfish Market, shops sold aquariums, all sorts of water-dwelling creatures and many, many fish -- conveniently packaged to take away in plastic bags.

Goldfish Market, Hong Kong, October 2009
Little tortoises grow into big tortoises.

Goldfish Market, Hong Kong, October 2009

Lauren, Hong Kong, October 2009
Renee and I were excited to discover "nems" (as we remember them from Abidjan) at a Vietnamese take-away joint in a shopping centre's foodcourt. We ate the spring rolls while planning our route to the other markets.

The Ladies’ Market and Night Market were much like the markets of West Africa, offering a range of clothes, bags, shoes, tourist trinkets on tables and under awnings. We bargained hard for some of our purchases, spending five minutes knocking fifty cents off the total, but that was part of the challenge!

The markets stalls were fascinating in their variety, and the prices so cheap. We didn’t find the hawkers or sellers aggressive, and we’d switch to French to discuss options so any English-speaking owner wouldn’t understand us.

By the time we started making our way home at 9 pm, we were tired, but most shops were still open (on a Sunday!), and the trains were still very crowded. At Tai Po, we caught the local double-decker bus for the final ride home — all part of the adventure!