Trip to Kowloon
This morning we woke up at about 8am and decided to go to Kowloon. This is a peninsula north of HKI with some crazy outdoor markets and a few museums. But first, we wanted to go get some breakfast — a meal that is hard to come by here. Most restaurants don’t open until 10 or 11am; even the Starbucks stays closed until 8am.
But we’d spotted a Krispy Kreme the night before and Ottav had a hankering for some donuts and coffee. On the way, we spotted a pastry shop open for business and headed in. They had croissants, rolls, jellies, and cakes stuffed with sausage, ham, egg, beankurd, etc. In short order, we decided we’d hit the KK another time. It was delicious.
So we walked down to the harbor and the Hong Kong Convention Centre. We strolled around there a bit before hopping on the quick (10min) cheap ($2.2HKD) ferry to Kowloon. We went to the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
The jade exhibit was nice, showcasing carvings from the neolithic up to modern times. Some of it looked like candy or decorative soap. The surface was translucent or prismatic — not what I think of from Jade.
Next we went to see the Gallery of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy. These were a variety of scrolls, fans, and paper painted in a traditional style. Some looked very well considered, without a single brush stroke out of place, but some looked splotchy like a kid’s watercoloring. I’m sure I just don’t know what makes them highly skilled works.
The highlight of the museum was a special exhibition called “Crossroads of East and West” by an artist named Wucius Wong. You could clearly see how the artist’s style progressed through the last half century. During his early years, he seems to have dabbled in all styles, from more traditional Chinese art, to pointilism, cubism, impressionism, and charcoal sketching. Later, his works take on a unique style which can be breathtaking. In some, it seems that the artist has created a reverse pointilism style, where the painting looks like a bunch of dots and chaos from afar, but up close the structure and detail emerge. Some of it was over my head to really appreciate and I felt as if I were falling. I wanted to buy some prints, but they didn’t really have any at the gift shop.
Then we went to the central shopping district of Kowloon, called Tsim Sha Tsui. This is an open air market with tons of massage parlors, both reflexology (foot massage) and the more traditional kind. Old women would walk up to us and talk in Cantonese, handing us flyers. One had an ad for a strip club on the other side. There were also dozens of tailor shops, apparently mostly staffed by Indian men who wanted to sell their “good friends” (us) suits. We really don’t look like we would be the type of folks who would buy suits with our beards and long unwashed hair.
We grabbed a quick snack at a street vendor — a purple sweet potato! It was good, but could have benefited from some butter and brown sugar. Later we found a strange little fast food noodlehouse, probably a chain. It was good and filling. Then we caught the subway back to our hostel.
Later, for an early dinner — more of an afternoon tea — we went across the street to a seafood place. I guess we got there during the tea time, because they didn’t have much in the way of seafood and only a limited menu. The food was delicous, the best I’ve had in Hong Kong, and we got the bottomless pot of tea we’ve been searching for. This was also wonderful. The prices were so low, we thought we were reading the menu wrong. I’d love to go back.