Head up into kowloon and you’ll find a series of streets divided up by what they sell. There’s the ladies market, selling all manner of clothes, fake bags and sovieners, some reasonable, others tat. Then you come to the goldfish market. A whole street of shops dedicated to aquatic life, plastic bags full of fish are strung outside shop entrance ways. Little bubbles of water, temporary homes for their shimmering inhabitants.
Next you reach the flower market, with blooms spilling out all over the street. Finally you get to the bird market, alive with the screech of parrots and the twitter of songbirds. Stacks and stacks of tiny cages. More birds than you can count, of every size and variety.
I was up in the flower market last week.
Fancy coming for a wander with me?
Take the MTR to Prince Edward, follow the signs to the flower market.
As you enter the market, the first shops you find are heaving with orchids. Some in perfectly climate controlled, cool shops, other out on the streets, stacked up on metal shelving. Row after row. Beautiful, delicate, dignified orchids. Beautifully painted blooms in every colour you could imagine; pink, white, purple, red, yellow, white.
Turn right and head down Flower Market Road. Outside elegant ornamental garden shops, the market spills out onto the street.
Its a hive of industry, this place isn’t manicured for the tourist dollar. One woman squats in the road, rapidly pulling plants out of their individual plastic pots, and packing them into boxes. The discarded planet pots litter the floor along side buckets, boxes and packing materials. Vans come and go, loading and unloading trees, shrubs, flowers and bouquets. Fallen leaves and escaped soil are left to be trodden down into the road.
Some stalls sell bunches and bunches of flowers. Simple palettes wrapped in paper.
Others are more elaborate, featuring bright contrasts of colour and texture, the odd teddy bear poking out from the tissue paper wrapping.
I wandered through the market, dashing from awning to awning, trying to avoid the heavy drops of rain.
As you walk towards the end of the market you begin to hear the song of birds from the bird market beyond. Old men walk past you, elaborate bird cages dangling from their hands. Delicate little birds being taken for fresh air. They’ll hang them up when the reach the market, sit down next to them to chat to friends. The tones of cantonese rising and falling against the twitter of the birds.
You’ll find entire shops dedicated to bamboo, long green spears, taller than me, are propped up in giant red buckets. Tiny little stems in little glass vases. My favourite are the twisting spirals, topped with fresh green leaves.
I found these little chap snoozing on boxes, entirely obliviously to all the hard work going on around him.
Among all these beautiful flowers and elegant blooms, I think I found my favourite bouquet! Perhaps not the most tasteful, but defiantly the tastiest!