Well the intrepid shopper set out at 1130 to find Quan Yin. The suggestion was to head for the Jade Market and look in the shops along the way. So I decided a bit of a zig zag course should let me cover about everything. First I’m overwhelmed by the shear number of stores. Gucci, Rolex, Calvin, Victoria’s Secret, McDonald’s, KFC, Puchi and Muchi. Not just once in my travel but several different stores of each. In fact 4 McDonalds and 3 Starbucks!


Every store, cart, dark alley has a barker plus the freelance Arab suit salesman which are 3 or 4 every block. “Very nice suit cheap one day”! I thought they should be Chinese but looks like the Indians & Arabs have muscled into this market. Then there are the handbill people who seem to be stationed in between the suit guys. Makes an interesting mine field to get thru.


Lastly we have the “push and shove” crown from the subway that is on the street. It all seems very rude but they all take it in stride and just keep going.


 This lady come bolting out of a shop with a kid in tow like she had just shoplifted something and she nearly runs me don and turn right hold on to the kid who had turned left. That makes me the meat in this sandwich so I spun about and the kid went under my leg. She had no more than taken 10 steps when she wheeled around and ran square into me. Just kept right on going as I checked my pockets for any missing stuff but it was all there. I guess when you have so many folks in such a small area then common courtesy takes a walk.


 The other thing is that almost everyone is on the phone and if no has an MPS stuffed in there ear. Again it doesn’t help the interaction between people, IMO.


 So down the steps from the hotel and off to Nathan Street…cross over with the cow bell walk signal and head north. It is interesting that when you ask someone if such and such is North or South form where you are they seem puzzled. Maybe that because it’s been so long since they’ve seen the sun that they don’t know. In any case millions of shops and stands everywhere, none of which cause you to lose a beat and some actually speed you up as the ever present smell is even stronger. We go the racks of bras and racks of lamb, fruits of the vine and fruit of the loom, pirate DVD’s and Rolex’s. It’s impossible to tell the real from the fake in some cases. I finally got the famous Jade Market which is even so noted on the El Tourista Trapola Map. If you the Spring Regatta Village when it rained a couple of years back, covered it over and put 200 4’X 4’ stalls in it then you’d have this world famous Jade Market. Pretty disgusting plus every stall person wants your attention. I did manage to find 2 Quan Yins made out of copper which looked nice but will just turn green. One was HK$480 and by the time I left the guy was down to HK$80. Good price but wouldn’t last in the sea air.


 I found another one that I really liked across the street from the Jade Market but the person couldn’t speak a word of English so I couldn’t find what it is made of. It appears like it’s a stone but I think it is a casting tho the detail is to good for a casting. It doesn’t appear to be a carving but it is heavy and about 8” tall. What caught my eye about this one is that Quan Yin is holding our ship’s wheel in her hand. So when folks come into the pilothouse and ask where the wheel is we could say that Quan Yin has it for safe voyaging ;-) The color is not to attractive as it is solid green. I took a picture so take a look at it and if you think it’s OK then I’ll walk back and get it on Tuesday AM as I don’t have enough HK$ and the banks are closed today and tomorrow.


 SO from there I headed back zagging and zigging so I covered what I’d missed on the way. The raw meat market would ruin your day. Everything is just hanging outside, they cut the meat on wooden blocks that don’t look like they have ever been cleaned. So having worked up my appetite I dove into the next McDonald’s for a rice burger. No sesame seed bun here just a rice cake and meat…good but different. The coke seemed like the coke of old times very good and made with sugar. The fries are the same wonderful McDee’s ones. While eating and observing the patrons they behave the same way as on the street. No one picked up their tray and empties it when they leave. The place is so full that strangers barge right in where you sitting and don’t bother to ask…again not a trace of common courtesy.


 Have you ever watched an ant colony when they are really going at it? The guys coming back are walked on by the guys going out. Seems like this place is closer to that than to Tortola.


On the street just below the hotel is the Bridal shops. What very fancy bridal gowns they sell at very big prices as some are 6 digits!!!


 Got back to hotel just as my legs were collapsing having walked 10-12 miles and had 451 personal body contacts and never took a breath of fresh air!  This boy is ready to get out of here and come home, yet I have 54 hours before the wheels go up L


 I may hook up with Iain tomorrow and hang out with them. I’ll have to wrestle the subway out and back but that might not be to bad on a Holiday.


 The only English TV is BBC/ or CNN HK and the Discovery Channel. So I get repetitive news on The chopper guys from Albany NY.  There is a bit of English news from Beijing which seems to be 180 degrees from BBC/CNN hard to think that the same issues have so many different views. The Chinese are 100% against any sanctions on Iran and the US is 100% for it. I guess we’ll all have to live with this "go around" one more time.


 For example it seems the Chavez, Fidel and the President of Bolivia have just signed a mutual aid agreement so they can trade openly between each of the country’s. I’ll bet this will never make the US news. It also looks like China has agreed to work with Fidel in developing his oil fields which are 45 miles from Key West. The Chinese have just signed up a deal in Nigeria to explore there oil fields. This is the first non western oil deal ever done as I understand it. It seems that all the current oil fields are under western control except for Russia. China has to buy oil on the open market vs. get it from a filed it controls…..this sounds like big shit to me as Exxon et al are cut out of these deals. Oh well good to have news from a totally different source.


And that’s my story for the day……hope to have internet by 6 PM but it maybe 7 before I can send this and more pictures.


 Loves ya,


A Couch potato locked in a foreign city and hotel room





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Since David was searching for a Quan Yin statue for the boat he had lots of choices - as you can see.  He decided on the green one as she is carring a wheel (wheel of life - Samsara) so, quite naturally we will put her in the Wheel House / Pilot House.  This is where the Catholics would normally put a St. Christopher.


Notice the color of the sky in all of the pictures.  The sun cannot shine through the smog.  Please carefully read his e- mail above to get a sense of the heavy pollution and smog. He was most perturbed by it.


The meat markets also made him physically sick.  He said the stench was just terrible - not to mention the germs.    Oh well, I suppose the Chinese are "Westernized" - meaning eating meat - but all of the "Western"  Buddhists I know are strict vegetarians.  What a crazy mixed-up world.


I thought that the Chinese version of news was also interesting so be sure and read that as it includes Cuba and oil.

Top and below - Dame Ellen Macarther's boat that she single handed in a circumnavigation - Around the world ... in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes . Dame Ellen was at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club giving a talk to the kids - keep scrolling down on the left please --

LONDON (AFP) — Ellen MacArthur, the fastest ever sailor to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, is to be made a Dame in honor of her achievement, the Prime Minister's office said on Tuesday.

Earlier Queen Elizabeth congratulated the 28-year-old Briton, who completed her marathon journey in 71 days 14 hours 18 minutes and 35 seconds.  "I'm delighted to learn that you have completed your round-the-world journey in record time," she said.


 "This is a stunning achievement," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said. "The whole country is very proud of Ellen."


In addition, the Royal Navy said MacArthur would be made an honorary naval officer, holding the title of Lt. Commander in the Royal Navy Reserve.


 French President Jacques Chirac also hailed her "extraordinary performance." MacArthur speaks French fluently, and her trip was followed widely in France