We were recently in Hong Kong for a couple of days. Chief of Stuff celebrated 20 years as part of the “family” and so we took him and his family (spouse and two teenagers on their first trip abroad) to HK as a huge thank you for 2 decades of service. He’s been around since our daughter was brought home from the hospital! While COS and family hied off to Disneyland, the Peak, Harbour Ferry and other things on their own, Mrs. MM and I had one main mission. To buy a new artificial Christmas tree to replace our current one that is on it’s last legs.
We headed to Brighten (HK), a multistory shop at one end of the real wholesale flower market in Mongkok, thinking this would be the motherload of artificial trees, and our proximity to China, where 99% of all of the world’s artificial trees are made in April-August must be a serious plus… but were sorely disappointed with the trees they had on offer. So suffice it to say, the mission was impossible to accomplish and we will either have to eke out one more year or find a tree elsewhere (believe me, we tried in Manila in all kinds of places).
We decided to walk through the flower market anyway since we were in the neighborhood and quickly realized that about a third of all the shops on one street seemed to all be related to Brighten, talk about having a near monopoly. At any rate, in one shop we got some seeds for Gejo of Malipayon Farms, and some for me to take a crack at, and we contemplated getting bulbs of amaryllis and narcissus and wondered if we could get them to bloom in time for Christmas… but then decided against bringing them back.
The shops were chock full of choices, and the variety was quite stunning. Most of the blooms were probably flown great distances (think Dutch flower auctions or Australian and South American sources) and were rather pricey, but it was nice to see so much to choose from. Lots and lots of retail buyers were getting blooms for self-styled bouquets they were bringing to friends for whatever special occasion it might be.
Miniature trees with full grown lemons were an oddity (think less than a foot tall, probably marcoted), and bonsai like apple trees on the next street were also bizarre. I can’t imagine having such a small trunk and having to nourish several fruits those those in the photos!
The shops selling orchids were also quite spectacular. Pots with huge blooms were just PHP400-500 a piece, nearly 30% less than wholesalers in Manila, and both get much of their stocks from Taiwan greenhouses… I can’t imagine why Filipino wholesalers have to mark their goods up so much… Retail shops all over HK have displays of upwards of 15-25 pots of orchids… they look so nice.
I didn’t bother to ask how much this bonsai apple tree with lots of fruit was going for, but I am sure it was a pretty penny. Located on roughly two long stretches of road and some side streets, this wholesale market is relatively easy to get to, and a pleasure to stroll around in cool weather…
Btw, I didn’t take photos, but we stayed at this small hotel called Butterfly on Prat, and were pleasantly surprised by how nice the rooms were for the amount of money we paid. We got some discounts for advance purchase and a hotel club I have joined, so it was affordable and well located… :)
P.S. All photos are square as they are all taken on my phone. Didn’t even bring a camera!