Day Five in Hong Kong: Fabric, Old Roller Coasters, and (watching) Dancing.

So, as per usual for most vacations, our last full day was the best day. We relaxed in the morning, did most of our packing, and went to Starbucks on Duddell Street once again. Duddell Street from our hotel was best accessed by the series of long paths and staircases that wound through the zoo and densely forested parks.  The 15 minute walk was how we got to town most days. It was fun to start the days off by greeting the animals, including the raccoons (which qualify as zoo animals instead of a pesky backyard menaces here!) and getting some fresh air.

After soaking up some more quiet, un-crowded atmosphere in the Bing Sutt Starbucks, we crossed our fingers and toes and went back to Sham Shui Po. This time I’m happy to report that everything was open! The fabric stores went on forever; Dan had a blast just looking at what was available, talking to vendors about wholesale quantities, which led to us reminding ourselves that we can’t afford to live here (yet?!). Both guys found some remnants that they had to have, mainly from street vendors selling “yard ends”, the last few yards of a roll that aren’t long enough to use in production. Translation? Cheap! And, saving that last bit of fabric from the landfill, so it makes you feel good. Obviously.

fabric

Finding good quality outdoor fabric is always a score!

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Spotted at the fabric stall. Hong Kong has strict plastic bag laws, resulting in one of the cleanest cities anywhere.

While verifying the opening hours of everything in Sham Shui Po, I came across a blog post about Dragon Centre on www.traveljams.com. Nine stories with an ice rink and a (now defunct) roller coaster on the top? There’s just no way to pass that up. Once our backpack and hands were full of bags of fabric, we headed that way, and it didn’t disappoint. The street itself was an adventure. Apliu Electronics Market was beginning to set up for the day, along with thrift shops, odds and ends shops, eateries, you name it. Dragon Centre really is a “local’s mall”, filled with cheap clothing and toy stalls, food, and an arcade. Although it opened in 1994, it felt like somewhere I would have gone in Middle School. No Gucci, no Prada. And I loved it for all of that.

shop

Odds and ends shop. Reminds me of a cool circa 1986 jigsaw puzzle.

mussels

Mussels drying in the sun on the street headed towards Dragon Centre.

rollercoaster

The Ninth Floor of Dragon Centre, with the roller coaster rails still intact. Not sure why it’s no longer in operation. (might not want to know why…)

rink

The “Skyrink” ice rink. The roller coaster rails came through here as well, I’m guessing it made for some interesting training sessions when it was operational. After we snapped this shot, this skater saw us and had the cutest shy, cheesy grin. Hope we gave him a fun paparazzi moment! 

Apliu Electronics Market is often ranked as the best market in Hong Kong. I had a hard time believing that, given all the places we’d already visited that over-impressed me. But, the ranking is well deserved. The stalls are filled with electronics, old and new, everything from $1 outlet converters and fuses to used TVs, DVD players, VHS players (!!!), vinyl records, film and digital cameras, there were even guys selling used air conditioner remotes. And nothing else. It was overwhelming, you could spend an eternity there searching for “that one treasure”. Andrew found his treasure in a Canon film camera, at last! All the mechanisms worked great, and for around $40 USD, it was worth the risk to pick up. We bought film at Champagne Court later that day, and we’ll soon see how his first pictures turned out. Just need to find somewhere to develop black and white. Stay tuned.

apliu2

Not just stuff for sale, but repair shops as well.

apliu

Andrew searching for his new toy. After some haggling via calculator, we had a deal.

It was time to pick up our suits, so we pried ourselves away from Apliu Market and popped into Rasmi’s one more time. We’ll be back for sure. But for now, with suits in our possession, it was time to return to the hotel and get ready for a fun night on the town.

Grappa’s Cellar in Central has a live Jazz band with swing dancing the first Wednesday night of each month, which coincidentally, was our last night in Hong Kong. We made reservations, which it looks like probably wasn’t necessary, but we were seated front and center with the best view of the stage and dancing, so it might be worth it. Good Italian food, but not over the top phenomenal. The service was OK…our waitress wasn’t super friendly, but the fun atmosphere covered that.

us

A rare shot of us both. Something to work on improving. 😉

andrewcamera

Andrew playing with his new camera, a Canon FT QL 35 mm film/50 mm 1.8 lens.

We are *not* dancers, we have been aspiring dancers for years, as in “We should take lessons someday!”, but that’s the extent of it. So, we preferred to watch everyone else, which was probably safer for all considered. It was super fun though to get all dressed up, something that doesn’t happen often enough.

grappas

This guy however, *was* a dancer, and seemed to have more fun than anyone else out there. His enthusiasm was fun to watch!

This was the first time we had problems getting a taxi, Wednesday night must be party night! We started walking back up (and up and up and up…) towards the hotel, figuring one would eventually pass, but it never did. It stunk at the time, but it was nice to make the hike one more time. It was the perfect end to the trip, but it was hard knowing that tomorrow we were going home.

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