Thank God, says I. I am a slow-walking-browser type of shopper and it seems that Hong Kong has that style too. First stop on the way to buying my underwear was the Sneaker Market (Mong Kok, Fa Yuen Street). I wasn't looking for shoes, but I am trying to get into the Shanghai Basketball league, so I took a look at the new Lebrons and some of the classic Jordan remakes while Anna browsed hipster Converse and New Balance kicks.
(No the sneaker market is not going anywhere, this slideshow from 2009 at www.awhatup.com predicted an early demise, but I can tell you that sneaks are being slung here in '11.)Neither of us bought any shoes, so we wandered through Mong Kok until we stumbled upon another market (the place where I bought the fruit juice), which turned out to be an offshoot of the famous Temple Street Market. This market begins setting up around 2pm or later, maybe 4pm and I noticed that the haggling is fiercest then. In fact I heard many of the ladies exclaim, "Market just open! You my first sale! Have to help me make money!" Temple Street sells all sorts of clothes and belts and souvenir hats and such. I found some boxer briefs and a couple pair of black socks and went about my business. My favorite market by far is the electronics markets (the one in Mong Kok on Nelson Road and the Wanchai one on Hennessy). It isn't for the faint hearted. The whole "chaotic yet calm" theory that applies to many of the outdoor markets in Hong Kong doesn't apply here, as most of the shops are clustered together in 5-8 level buildings, squished together in blocks of glittering, blinking, beeping madness. It feels like what the ground level Blade Runner world might be like. I tend to assume a Buddha pose as I stroll through, one eye on the stalls, another on the open spaces that appear between bodies that I have to squeeze through in order to continue on. As I jostle my way through the levels, I hear cries of DVD. But those are for amateur computer market shoppers. As soon as the hawkers see that my inscrutable expressions changes little at the mention of bad porn or fuzzy versions on Inception, they narrow their beady little eyes and shrewdly switch tacks. "New hard drive!" "Wireless mouse!" "Cable! Cable!" and then, miraculously, I hear it: "Yo I got that laptop cooling pad yer looking for right here dawg!" Sike. I just saw it there gathering dust atop a pile of wireless routers and picked it up to see what kind of quality we're looking at here. A harried representative rose up from the floor tiles like a genie and said, "Hm. For laptop. Here. USB too." Simple construction. Sturdy aluminum. USB hub. Two fans. Operated via USB cable connected to my laptop. Steepled-finger excellence. "How much?" "5 billion dollah!" "13 cents!" We settled on HK$120 for the cooling pad and a mouse. Underwear, check. Socks, check. Computer gadget that will extend the life of laptop 2-3 years, check. Now I'm hungry. Where the fried fishballs at!