Monday, February 8, 2010

Hong Kong (Part Two)

On our second day in Hong Kong we took the subway north to Mung Kok and started out by exploring the Bird Garden.  Rows, piles, and stacks of wooden, bamboo, wire, and plastic cages each housed single song birds or a cluster of colorful parakeets for sale.  Bins of birdseed and plastic bags full of live grasshoppers and wriggling grubs stood ready to feed the flocks.  Little brown wild birds flitted in to peck up errant birdseed and escaped bugs, flaunting their freedom to their caged and wing-clipped cousins.  Mohit felt bad for the birds.

The nearby Flower Market Street had jungles of perfect, plump, beautiful orchids spilling out onto the sidewalk, bundles of fuzzy pussywillow branches dyed red and pink. I resolved to add potted orchids to our indoor plant collection when we return home (and to try to keep them alive!).

For awhile, we trailed a British tour guide who identified the long sinewy branches with strange-looking yellow fruits as something called “Five Generations” after the five bumps coming off the main blob.  He said they were a type of gourd, and that Chinese families consider these auspicious decorations during Chinese New Year.  There were tons and tons of potted mini orange (or tangerine?) trees and paper cones of roses, African Violets, and chrysanthemums.

Next on our self-guided walking tour was the goldfish market, where we found walls of watery bags with every kind or ornamental fish imaginable.  We also spotted plastic bins of stripy turtles and a cage full of fluffy baby bunnies.

Our flight to India was that evening, so before grabbing our bags and boarding the double-decker bus back to the airport, we treated ourselves to one last Hong Kong pastry treat- we selected a sweet corn bun and a blueberry cheese bun- both were airy and sweet and deliciously devoid of any nutrition.

We were sad to say goodbye to Hong Kong so quickly, but happy to have made the most of our layover.  Next stop- India!

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