Good Luck in the Wet Market

Today’s events really began and ended surrounded by food. Our lecture was about food culture in both Hong Kong and China more broadly. Afterwards, we all went to a “tea restaurant,” which is a type of restaurant favored by locals, serving a combo of Western and Chinese food. In the Colonial Era, locals could not afford expensive Western food, so these casual fusion places started popping up all over the place. We ate to our hearts desire, and then headed to a wet market nearby. The wet market is not something you see frequently in the States. They are large markets filled with fresh produce, fish that are so fresh they jump out of their baskets, and an assortment of other items. I bought two delicious dragon fruits with red instead of white fruit on the inside. Although my hands are now stained red from the fruit, they were certainly worth the one dollar and something US cents I paid for them. Returning to university, I finished an important scholarship application for study abroad, finished our readings for tomorrow, and then felt like wandering in the nice weather. My goal was a temple nearby called Miu Fat. Although it was closed, it was nice to explore the surrounding area. I then took the really packed light rail to Yuen Lang, a place I’ve visited a few times myself already. It is pretty big, so I still don’t feel like I have any idea where I am while there. It’s a very traditional place, with stalls selling baked goods, street food, socks and sweaters, and steamed dumplings and buns running in between well-known stores like adidas. After a while I came upon what looked like an entrance to another wet market, and I decided to go in. I came upon a very small bookstore inside, very tastefully done with clean wooden boxes lining the walls, and small tree-stump looking stools on the small floorspace, perhaps half the size of my mattress here at Lingnan. I found a book written by Lin Xi, the man who wrote the lyrics to the song “Beijing Welcomes You,” which was performed by famous Chinese singers for the 2008 Olympics. The book is called 我所爱的香港. I sat down on one of the stools and read about five pages. The book is written in simplified Chinese, and also pretty simply written. I am really happy I stopped at this store. I happened to strike up a conversation with the two owners. Both were recent college graduates, one from Lingnan! The girl was a Cultural Studies major here, and the guy studied Political Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. We talked for a good 45 minutes about why they started the bookstore, study abroad experiences, college life, and some good temples I could go to (hopefully they’ll be open). I left with a book in hand and both of their wechats. Its good to have alone time to think and discover things on your own. Strangely enough, many times you come back from these small outings and spur of the moment trips with a friend or two, worth infinitely more than the price of a book or asking someone friendly-looking to take your picture in front of a famous place.

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