Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tourists in To Kwa Wan (土瓜灣)

I was mildly surprised to bump into a group of Putonghua-speaking tourists in front of a fruit store in the To Kwa Wan wet market. I quickly realized they were not shopping for fruit. Rather, they were coming out of a posh-looking chocolate shop next door, right underneath an old-folks’ home and drying laundry.

The tourist guide was telling them those fancily-packed chocolates were good gifts to take home. However, I couldn’t identify the brands. Perhaps I have not eaten enough chocolates? But I do eat quite a bit. And I did notice that the shop was hiring Putonghua-speaking keepers. So it was not targeting the local population.

The guide was taking the group across the street to have lunch in a restaurant. Only then did I notice that 4 big tour buses were parked around the corner. Why is there a posh-looking chocolate shop in the wet market? And why are there so many tourists here?

More curiously, the restaurant was devoid of decorations, menus, fish tanks, promotional pamphlets and other paraphernalia typical of restaurants in Hong Kong. It seemed as if they have no need to advertise. Perhaps it is because they have these tour guides who bring them the customers? Ditto for the chocolate shop?

I have heard of the jewelry shop with a toilet made of gold in Hung Hom. But I did not know that the wet market in To Kwa Wan has also become a tourist attraction. Where else of Hong Kong did the tourists get to visit? Hong Kong is indeed a very strange tourist destination.

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