I’m always surprised to discover whole new worlds in Hong Kong – and how superficial the towering urban jungle tourist ads are.

Yesterday we went to Mong Kong. This is like Kowloon’s version of Causeway Bay only bigger, more crowded and somewhat cheaper and smellier.

After a shaky start in which V slouched around while I tried to shop for Christmas gifts for the cousins’ growing brood of kids, we breaked for lunch. This was had in a small Thai restaurant on the side of the street market. The food was pretty great – I love Thai food. It’s enough like Indian food but more subtle.

Then V and I came to a compromise. We would shop for sneakers. V allegedly needs them – honestly for all the flak I get I think the man has more shoes than me and his are way more expensive – and though I am generally averse to sneakers, they are after all shoes. And there is a whole street dedicated to sneakers that we haven’t explored before. A coup of sorts was achieved when V bought a pair of black suede sneakers and relegated his ugh 50cents white ones to a bag. Honestly, white sneakers on a guy is not so fly. Then, I decided I wanted red sneakers – they’re like the shoes we used to wear in school only a little chunkier and in happy colours. So kind of back-to-school but cooler. Obviously – we were so not cool in school I’ve realised after someone circulated our class photograph on Facebook. I nearly drove V nuts being unable to decide which ones fit me and then whether I wanted boots or the normal sneaker ones. Ended up tossing a coin. I’m scared to put them on today because what if they don’t fit?

Then we tried to find the (fake – i think) dvd shop which has mysteriously closed down and ended up following people into malls where we made some amazing discoveries:
a) Entire mall dedicated to toy collectors. Animatrix, Simpsons, Peanuts and some doll call Blyth, the clothes of which cost $200 on sale. Rather amusingly V got very hung up on finding a Bart doll. I don’t know whether having an inspirational Bart icon in our house is going to be a good thing though.
b) This weird instant photograph game where you go into a booth, choose a background click a couple of photos and then personalize it. You have limited time to do it which means the results are generally crazy but it does make it more fun. For 40$ we now have two wallet sized laminated photos of ourselves looking idiotic but could have been worse.

A couple of malls later my legs were killing me so we went for a haircut. Well, V got a haircut and I got a ‘treatment’. I went in thinking I would pay $70 – to be fair though, practically impossible to get hair treated for that price – and ended up paying $250. The upshot is that my hair is silky and I think I want to straighten it again.

When we finished it was 10 pm and the hairdresser showed no signs of shutting down – Mong Kok apparently never sleeps – and there were women getting their hair set in curls which makes no sense because isn’t it a bit too late for that?

Starving again we trudged along and suddenly found ourselves in an entire road of street food. Now, this is rare in HK because the government is trying to shut down all the dai pai dongs. And of course being from Bombay anything dirty and scrumy strikes me as must-be-good food. So we gingerly tiptoe in and sit down trying not to touch anything – outside was better, the place was filthy even for me and the woman who cleaned our table chucked all the leftover bones and chopsticks on the floor. We have the mussels omlette (a Thai specialitiy) and pot rice which I guess was ok. An interesting experience but I would not repeat. Had to drink Coke to kill whatever germs had been ingested.

Then we landed up in a street market where they were selling all sorts of interesting trinkets – including a street that looked like Goa with the hippie bags, which explains where the kids in HK get them – and when we rounded the corner were landed up in this street of tents, housing fortune tellers. Really, it’s a whole new world out there. Of course, we had to get our fortune told – but the good ones, who had lines of girls in front of their tents – spoke only Canto and the one who I used was crap and told me I would have a baby next month and should by the Mark Six tomorrow. Loser! I think she thought I would be happy to have a baby. She also kept waving hello to people while telling my fortune whihc I think is really bad form.

And so we landed up home at 1 am… on the last train.