Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First & Third -- Head West  

I am an East Island girl through and through, but since befriending a chick who lives in the parts of Sheung Wan not affected by gentrification, I've begun to appreciate the area. If I'm not in central I usually don't head much further West because... well, what's out there? Sai Ying Pun, Kennedy Town, Pokfulam, and then what? No idea. Even when I go to the beach I choose Shek O since it's just a quick bus ride away. The idea of trekking out to Stanley sounds like a huge pain. It's just a really busy beach with a market and some expensive restaurants - I suppose I'll go out there when the weather clears up.

Anyway, I have taken a liking to the Sheung Wan area and the random things I find there. I can never find cheap, ripe avocados, but if I walk through Sheung Wan there's always a vendor or two selling them at $6/piece. Same price as Park N Shop (speaking of which, PnS sells the most rotten, disgusting avocados I have experienced), and cheaper than City Super.

The other day my friend insisted I come for a walk over to the market where she buys her jeans, to meet a tailor, and check out a tie-die store. I never turn down the opportunity to see something new, so off we went wandering down Des Veoux Rd West. I have to say, the only thing I really don't like about Sheung Wan is the abundance of dried seafood. I can get down with a lot of smells, but when it's really hot outside and you get a ripe whiff of dried scallops - that's about enough to make me kneel over and die. Although, some of the stuff we found was totally worth it.

Wah Hung Shoes
My friend originally found this store because she was frantically looking for a tailor to help her sew her costume for a performance. Luckily she came across Ms. Chan Siu Hung, who helped her with less than 24 hours until her show and for a reasonable price. While she works in the East Centre Street Market as a tailor, she also sells a line of Chinese slippers she designs and has manufactured herself. Her slippers are the classic Chinese style slide on shoes, with cute details on the tops such as birds, flowers, and butterflies. Now, I will make a point of saying that they don't sound like anything out of the ordinary, but they're not the typical Chinese slippers in a discount bin type of shoe. These slippers are not kitschy, are decently built, and are about $20 cheaper than the slippers you can find in Mong Kok! They run at $49 a pair and come in a large range of sizes.
Wah Hung Shoes Co. Tel: 35792834
Stall # 23, G/F East Centre Street Market, 44 Centre Street, Sai Ying Pun

Next we ventured over to third street where I found two delightful little shops. I'm always looking for factory rejects, handmade items, and vintage goods - well I found it on the West Side!

Bargain Shop
Bargain Shop is run by one woman and she specializes entirely in tie-die clothing. While I'm sure she's not online reading every day, a lot of the things in her shop are some of the hot new trends for this season and presumably F/W 09. She had loose-fitting crop tops, slouchy pants and shorts. Her shop is not set up to be the most beautiful store in the world, but that's part of why I was so into it. The walls were all bare, and at the back of the store the owner was working on each piece of clothing herself! And on a more personal note, she had two of the biggest, cutest cats in the whole world. She didn't speak any English but I kept saying to my friend, "Woowww these cats are so big I could ride them around!"

Across the street from the tie-die place there are a few random stores, they have no name, no one would give me a card, and apparently have no address. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but apparently it's because the stores come and go pretty randomly. I found a cute silk dress in one of the stores, but I didn't end up buying it. Typical story: the price tag says $75, I hand the guy $100, he tries to tell me the dress is now $125 "special price" for me. Uh huh! $125 is still not a lot for a one of a kind silk dress, but for me it's the principle, I don't like it when people think because I'm blonde I can be taken advantage of! Shopping is my thing, if I let everyone take advantage of me I'd be broke.

There's many things to find past the "trendy" areas of Sheung Wan, once you hit dried seafood street I'd say you were in the right neck of the woods.

Sai Ying Pun Area Map (FYI the section of Third St. I'm talking about is between Centre St and Western St)

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