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Hong Kong Day #3: Hidden Trophies

The first item on today's agenda was to get a flower-shaped ice-cream from Givres in the Wanchai district. To get there, we cut through the street markets and followed on through an alleyway to find the right address. Even in an alleyway, Hong Kong still somehow managed to have an impromptu hairdressers at the end. The stylists worked busily away while each customer's chair sat upon the aged concrete. We found the ice-cream shop tucked into the next street filled with red lanterns floating around everywhere.

The hairdressers was too small to take a closer photo without it being extremely obvious.

Besides noticing that I'm saying 'mmm goi' ('thank you' in Cantonese) to everyone without even knowing if they speak the language, I also noticed that there is a Chanel and Dior store at every turn. According to a family friend we met up with the day before, people here are much more judgemental, inspecting your clothes and hair to the max. It's hard to blame anyone when designer stores have pretty much become the norm around here. Utmost fashion and expense is the ultimate new haircut.

Later on in the day, we met up with my boyfriend's childhood friend and his wife back at our hotel and caught the train into Prince Edward. They led us to a fancy restaurant Yung Kee on the second floor of a tower. I was much more focussed on the display-like fishtanks than anything else. Compared to the size of some of the fish tanks I'd seen around seafood restaurants in China, these sea animals were treated like kings. The restaurant also overlooked the Hong Kong streets during peak hour.

Our in-the-know friends took us down to Temple Street after dinner on Yau Ma Tei. Everything was a mix of traditional housing and temple-like arches, and touristy markets. There were lines and lines of fortune tellers in their tents beckoning for us to come toward them, and even a few casually-dressed prostitutes hanging alongside. Each street of markets advertised the exact same items, with only a slight difference in price to set things apart. Being white, according to my Cantonese boyfriend and friends, made me the perfect target for a well-overpriced sale. Tourists were generally much more inclined to accept the sale price, not knowing it could be more than triple the actual price for it.

We moved on to Central shortly after for Ce La Vi: a rooftop bar topping 25 floors where the drinks are more expensive but the views are unobtainable anywhere else in Hong Kong (or so it felt). It was impossible to find a seat since we hadn't booked one in advance, so the hour was mostly spent speedily drinking our beverages until it was socially acceptable to go somewhere else.

Inevitably, because my boyfriend and I are fiends, we found ourselves at a shisha bar, AER, down the road. Almost 50 metres away, an Indian man pointed us out in the middle of Central and smiles. He gave high fives and hand shakes all round, and --- what do you know --- we got free vodka shots on him. It was our favourite shisha bar so far in Hong Kong: perfected with an over-zealous host and heavy-on smoke. We watched as the Indian man quickly switched to Cantonese when he moved onto his next target.

Inside every building, there's a flow of business through Central's night-life district.


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