Sunday 13 January
Eddie spent over an hour on Saturday evening washing China out of his clothes and backpack (which is now so clean it looks nearly new). I did my washing on Sunday morning at about 2 am when I couldn't sleep - most of it dried before lunchtime. We spent the day inside writing and catching up, and ate scratch meals because we didn't have time or inclination to go shopping.
Monday 14 January
We walked up to Sheung Shui to meet Carman at the HSBC for a spot of financial rearrangement, then caught a train to Hung Hum, to meet Alex Ip for yum cha. He was keen for us to try the cuisine at the Royal Palace Restaurant where we had been disappointed last Friday.
The place was empty when we arrived at 12.15, and was getting ready for a wedding. The decor is quite frilly, with the chairs covered in white damask, finished with bows velcro-ed to the back. Silk pink and white roses and a 10-tier fake wedding cake added to the girly atmosphere. Fortunately, the cooking was much better than the decoration, and we enjoyed a selection of dishes that Alex said were traditional and authentic Cantonese dim sum, but rather different from the usual array. We ate har gow, rice rolls with spring rolls inside, fragrant beef balls, bean curd skin filled with mushrooms, char siu bao, with sponge cake and red bean dumplings for dessert.
After lunch we went our separate ways. We noted that the Space Museum had some good shows on, and decided to stay to see 2 of them - Exploring Black Holes and Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia - in the evening.
To fill in the intervening time, we took a bus to Sham Shui Po, to look at electronics and buy some toggles for my raincoat. There is an amazing array of outlets selling beads, costume jewellery, buckles, fasterners, threads and cords, gemstones, embroidered patches, lace and braids and all sorts of glittery and attractive things. Eddie calls it Magpie Alley, but the area of shops stretches over several streets. Some shops looked like old-fashioned grocer's shops with the coloured beads displayed in jars and bins, from which you could scoop out what you wanted and pay for them by weight. We browsed for some time before heading off to Apliu St which is attractive to another kind of magpie - one interested in electrical knickknacks and hardware.
A trip around the Golden Computer Shopping Centre completed our visit, and we took a bus back to the Space Museum for the shows. Both were interesting, the Dinosaur omnimax feature being particularly good, so we were pleased we had decided to stay on in spite of the chilly night. (The weather has got colder over the last few days).
I noticed on the bus ride that Christmas is over and shops are now festooned with red and gold and blossom decorations - Chinese New Year (year of the rat) is on Feb. 7. Underwear shops bring all the red and plum coloured bras and knickers to the front of the shop, making a brave display that is quite intense.
There are a few little Xmas trees and the odd stencil and bit of tinsel still around, but most Christmas decorations were jettisoned smartly after the New Year.