We moved out of the hotel Thursday morning. We're staying temporarily at the home of a colleague who is out of the country and Paul blogs about it here.
While Paul was at work I spent the day sort of sussing out the neighborhood. We are in the district of Wan Chai, which is fairly vast. But I kept close to the apartment. I discovered three whole blocks of market streets selling everything from vegetables to live fish to hair barrettes and jade. I enjoyed it so much, and have a little regret that I won't really be cooking here. At least not in this apartment.
I tried to take photos of the live fish flopping. I know some people have issues with this -- live fish, not photos. I guess I don't put fish into the same basket, so to speak, as animals. I probably wouldn't be happy to watch a chicken get beheaded, but the whole fish episode sort of tickled me. Am I twisted?
After walking around for a while, I came away with an idea of what's available, but not many purchases: bananas and pumpkin seeds. (And have I mentioned just how amazingly good the bananas are here? I think they're from the Philippines, and I have no idea why they're better than the bananas we get at home, but they are.)
I also discovered a dim sum shop, a barber shop for Paul, a dozen different tiny restaurants and the laundry.
We don't have a washing machine in this apartment, so I need to send out the laundry. It is
something I've heard of people in New York doing. It seems like an extravagance. But here, it costs between 26 and 30 Hong Dollars (about $3.50) for up to 6 pounds. That's a deal. I dropped it off at about 4 and it was supposed to be ready at 7 p.m. I actually don't mind doing laundry, but it would be a tempting option if I had it at home in Long Beach.
After that I made my way to the grocery store, Wellcome. I prefer the Park and Shop, but haven't seen one nearby. I think Park and Shop is more for Westerners. They have tons of imported things and more variety. For example, Paul discovered he likes vanilla soy milk, and Wellcome doesn't have it, although it has about 8 other varieties. I think he opted for soy milk in the wake of the whole tainted Chinese milk thing. (He now tells me he chose it because it's sweet).
I also made a stop at the phone monopoly PCCW, like AT&T I think. They handle phones and internet and television. I was concerned about getting an internet hookup in time to work, and had borrowed a start-up CD from someone at the IHT so I could use the existing broadband hookup in the apartment. Turns out I didn't need it.
By the end of the day I'd accomplished a ton, but was seriously overstimulated. I capped off the night late -- at 11 when Paul got in -- by going downstairs and next door to a hole-in-the wall restaurant for some dinner. I asked the woman for an English menu. No go. She offered me a variety of noodles. I stopped her at won ton noodles and ended up with a take-out bowl of soup.