Hong Kong is rightly known to be a shopper’s paradise. Even to one indifferent to the lure of possessions like yours truly, it is hard not to admire the vibrant energy and hard work that lie behind the glittering facades of designer storefronts, name brand stores and all the shiny temples of consumerism on display. Walking down a Kowloon street at 10 o’clock one night in the first week of our stay, we were astounded to see well-dressed shoppers toting designer bags queueing up to get into the flagship Gucci store; a store that easily surpasses Vienna, London or New York in both size and glitz.
Here is a short extract from the blurb for the Ocean Centre shopping mall:
The mall is divided into four zones, Ocean Terminal parallel alongside a cruise ship berth, Ocean City, Gateway Arcade and Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel Arcade. Shops are mainly high-end and mid-range and range of goods includes mens and ladies fashion and accessories, beauty and personal care, childrens and maternity wear, sportswear and shoes, leather goods, shoes and bags, gifts, jewellery and watches, audio visual and electrical appliances and home furnishings.
After listing several dozen of the most famous among the 700 shops and 50 restaurants in the complex, it then goes on to say:
Shoppers venturing into Harbour City are advised to obtain a shop directory/floor plan on arrival as whilst the layout of this mall appears simple the numbering of floor levels can be particularly confusing when moving between different zones. A warning I would advise you to take seriously if you don’t want to wander for hours!
The feng-shuied elegance of the city’s skyscrapers and smooth-flowing traffic on multi-layered roadways are both marvels of engineering and organisation. And then, on a crowded street near Central, the sight that epitomised the depth of this city’s mercantile impulse; a ten-storied building in this tropical city apparently dedicated entirely to Siberian Fur.