… Particularly for the thousands of Filipino nannies/live-in maids in Hong Kong. It was my first proper Sunday here, and though quite a few people have told me that I’d be seeing heaps of maids out and about on Sundays, it was still a bit of a shock to the system. Walking to IFC mall for my gym session, I saw hundreds of ladies sitting along the fences of foot bridges and escalators in the blistering heat, having picnics and parties with their fellow Filipino friends. Others sit in makeshift cardboard silos, reading books and chilling alone in the confines of the brown walls. It would be akin to scores of people picnicking on the ground along Anzac Bridge or QVB mall or anywhere smack bang in the middle of the CBD. But hey, it looked like they were having a good time, and a well deserved day off. Anyway, enough rambling about that little culture shock moment.
Yesterday I attempted to add some routine and normalcy into my life again by going to the gym. After a quick run and caning in the TRX class, I realised that I actually missed exercising – like real exercise, not the weary-traveller-running-between-connections type. Now to contemplate whether it’s worth the 500AUD monthly fee for temporary membership (something tells me no, and it’s possibly my gut, which has gotten wayyy too comfortable with itself over the past few months).
Afterwards, I ventured over to Kowloon with Gloria from work, to explore the craziness that is Mongkok. In my mind, Mongkok seemed like the wild west. In reality, I still don’t know what hit me. I spent 3-4 hours there, and to sum it up in 2 words –sensory overload.
But I’m not a girl of only 2 words so I’ll continue.
Mongkok is home to the likes of the Ladies Market, Sneakers Street and the Computer Centre. My senses feel assaulted with all the foot traffic, the humidity, the neon lights, the airconditioning juices dripping from above, the multitude of smells from the street food stores, the noise of street performers, people singing (with varying skill levels), and more people … people everywhere.
I went into an electronics store, and was literally bombarded by sales people eager to assist me. During my brisk walk through the store, I had to fight off more than 20! You’d turn into an aisle and face a line of them waiting. And the sneaker shops – so many, they all started to become a blur! I stopped to read the menus for a number of restaurants in a commercial building – around 5-6 people tried to shove pamphlets in my face to coax me into their restaurant. I went into a shop for a quick dessert, and had to awkwardly share a table with another solo diner, squished in the middle of 3 other tables. I gave the Ladies Market a skip as I had seen it before during my last trip to HK, and from memory, it would’ve been more of the same craziness.
I can’t say Mongkok is my favourite place in the world – to be honest, it was a relief to get back onto HK Island, where I actually felt like I had personal space again. But it is an experience, and maybe others relish in that kind of hectic environment. Just make sure you go one day and find out for yourself!