After my first 2 days of exploring (Hong Kong Part 1 – The Causeway) I quickly adjusted to Hong Kong life. Everywhere you look, there are buildings that reach the sky, people moving, cars speeding, and the constant smell of the sea (or maybe it was the pollution). Now traveling alone has lots of perks. You run on your own schedule, you can get lost to explore, you can spend your entire day absorbing culture, sounds, and more important, life. After scouting out the general area I have been staying at I got on board a ferry to check out whats life like on the other side of Hong Kong Island…. Well lets just say boy did I get into some trouble.
First thing you notice when on board one of the Ferries traveling from Hong Kong Island to the Kowloon area is the amazing landscape of buildings. Well turn around cuz your gonna see where you just came from.
Yea and I thought the other side was full of buildings.
The weather at the time was gloomy, and the shots I took of Hong Kong island were eh… Could be better right? Well didn’t really spend time here, I had a whole area to explore! As I walked down past the ports, and into Kowloon, I suddenly felt different about my environment… If you ever been to the San Francisco Bay area, the feeling I felt was coming from San Francisco Powell Bart station to.. Well West Oakland… I suddenly felt that the Camera in my hand was suddenly not so safe to have out. I put my camera in my bag, and only shot with my iPhone… I started taking a walk toward the Jade Market.
Not exactly feeling safe, and feeling extremely hungry I decided to look for a spot to grab a beer (good job Mark, don’t go eat but find a bar to get drunk to create that liquid courage to bust out your camera). Finding a hole in the wall bar, I decided to grab a couple shots, and a beer. The bar was dark, and lots of sketchy people inside staring at me (probloby cuz I was speaking english… and hitting on this chick). I was approach by a man at the bar asking if I needed help. The man was slightly shorter than me, but I had a real negative vibe from him. I asked him “So I made my way from one side of the Island to here. Tell me something about the infamous gangs out here” (At this point I was down 9 shots of Jack Daniels). The man laughed, and sat down with me, and gave me the 101 on the true Triad life.
This man had a interesting story. He was still part of the Triad life, and told me they hate foreigners but loved their money. The man ordered a bottle of Jack Daniels, and started drinking with me. He told me that his people do not harm foreigners, and that business is a priority. He wants foreigners to come back, so he tries to help them as much as possible, because they bring him money. He then started to talk about the American Gangsta. “The American Gangs are childish. They Have no control over their children. They shoot people for no good reasons, and they always get into trouble. But here we are all about business, money, and power. We don’t want trouble for no reason. We did away with small crime, and stayed focus on prostitution, drugs, and legit businesses. If you were a boss, would you want your employees to get in trouble with the law? NO! Because the law will just shut you down.” Don’t know if it was the alcohol at this point, but I totally agreed with him. We finish the bottle, and at this point I could not walk more than a 5min without lighting a cigarette. Before leaving, the man told me that since it’s getting dark I should visit temple street. He said it is part of his turf, and I can see how life is. He also assured me not to worry about getting robbed, unless I make myself a obvious target. I busted out my camera and started my drunk walk…. Wait… What street am I on….
So after stumbling around for several hours, I finally found Temple Street! SOOO there is no exact time the venders come out, but as a general rule, come out here when it is completely dark. When I arrived the sun was just going down, so I decided to grab some tea, sit down, watch the venders set up, and enjoy my surroundings.
Ok so it wasn’t tea, and yes it was another beer!! Lets get to shooting!
I met a variety of people from all over the world in this market. Aussies, Brits, Nigerians, Thai, they were all here looking at the different stuff for sale! And man they are cheap! I manage to buy a tripod for 5$ US dollars! (YAY NOW I CAN BE THAT LOSER TO TAKE PICS OF HIMSELF!) and a iPod charger for 50 cents! SO WHAT ITS FAKE! It gets the job done! (Update: 2 days later the ipod charger came apart -_-)
Aside from the main Street, I manage to walk to the side of the market. There are many other smaller shops that have actual store fronts open. As I stumbled around the market, two ladies approach me, and started holding my arm. They were telling me that I look stressed out and that I need a happy ending…. My point being, is yea there there too… Trust me you can tell where they are, and the police are always keeping a eye, so be careful!
Temple St. is definitely a must visit location when visiting Hong Kong, bring lots of cash! (Hide it of course) and you better have your bargaining skills down! The smell, site, and the energy is just amazing. Remember your conversion rates, and when in doubt look up the prices on your phone. Every vender here will bargain with you, and your ethier gonna win or loose. If your like me and you hate bargaining do this. Go to one store as for the price on a item you want, then head to another. At this point you can see the going price. Set a low price that you are willing to buy for, and just tell them the price. Once it’s out there and they say no its too low, then walk away. Your gonna start hearing the tune of numbers go down. Trust me!
As the night dwindled down, I decided to head back to my start location… Wait… why are the buses lined up…. Well time to walk…. I need another beer.
Stay tuned for part 3, when I make it to my start location, and get my butt kicked by Bruce Lee!
All photos taken with a Canon 600d (T3i) with a standard lens kit 18-55mm
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For a full gallery of my Hong Kong trip check out the link