Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hong Kong, the jade market

I am going to post twice today, since I missed a day, and I still have some photos I wanted to share with you. Yesterday, while Matthias was training, I decided to visit the Jade Market. Not only can you buy jade here, but there are pearls, beads, carvings, turquoise, and jewelry. It is pretty fun, even if you aren't into things like that. Jade is supposed to bring you good luck if you wear it. I didn't buy anything, but I did have fun looking at everything. I almost forgot to tell you, I have acquired a new name here! "Missy, you want try on?" "Missy, come look, jade?" "You like, Missy? You want Coach bag? Missy, you want copy watch?" It is very funny to be called "missy". I find it pretty cute, actually. I mean, it's a heck of a lot better than "ma'am", which is pretty much what I have now become in the US. I like "missy" better - it makes me feel like a young girl! Yay!

After the Jade market, I stumbled upon the Tin Hau Temple. It is a temple that was originally built for the seafaring goddess, to protect the ships and sailors. It is surrounded by a park, where there were quite a few people. The coolest part (IMO) was that when I walked into the temple, hanging from the ceiling were these giant coils of incense. There were even signs saying "beware of falling ashes", because there was so much of it. It smelled great in there. People often stand or kneel in front of the alter with sticks of burning incense in their hands. They also put sticks of incense into boxes filled with sand near the entrance of the temple and by the alter. I am sure if you stayed in there for more than 5 minutes, you would smell of nothing but incense.

I also walked through a street market where local people must shop for food. It is a lot more photogenic than King Soopers or Safeway could ever hope to be! The part that I have trouble with is how the meat is put out. The stands of meat just have big slabs of meat, hanging. Underneath the tables of meat, you can see where there are boxes of discarded skin and fat, and it is pretty icky for a sheltered American who is used to seeing everything carefully wrapped in plastic and refrigerated with the funky parts already removed. I didn't get a good picture of this whole shocking debacle, but perhaps that was fortuitous. I must say, the fruit was gorgeous.

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