Hello Kitty store, Mon Kok
Ladies Night Market Mon Kok
Mixed in with these crowds of people are dozens of hawkers and buskers. Their job is to get you to come to their guesthouse, tailor, massage parlor, etc. In general, they are harmless, it's how we met Adil, our floor sleeping guest house host of hosts, but you should exercise general caution. Don't follow one upstairs out of sight or anywhere you wouldn't go with a stranger.
The thing that cracked me up about these guys, was that they were vetting the crowd and picking out the likely targets. Westerners were very popular. If Minxi and I were walking down the street together she might pick up one or two, but tailors and rolex watch sales people could see me a mile off. On the other hand, if Minxi and I were pulling out suitcases, "Whack! Whack!" every guest house peddler in Hong Kong popped up as we went by. Fending them off reminded me of the game "whack-a-mole" so I invented a new game to play on Hong Kong streets:
Whack a Honky!
Here are the basic rules.
You get one point for every busker who approaches you. The standard is one block. So if three hawkers approach you one block but only two approach you in the next, your high score for the street is three.
Here are some helpful tips:
Carry lots of crap and look lost. These guys can tell if you need help and are glad to provide it. They can tell if you need, umbrellas, coats, rooms, or a beer. The more dazed and hectic you look, the more likely they are to help. Whack Whack up those points with tons of bags and a vacant stare.
The better dressed you are the more Hong Kong street vendors will go out of their way to help you. People in suits need more suits, ties, rolexes, video cameras, and massages. Whack whack whack!
I know that, looking western, I attracted way more attention than Minxi did but she still got her fair share. There are millions of Chinese tourist in Hong Kong every year and I suspect that your hawkers do well picking out Chinese tourists as well. Maybe we can track which ethnic groups get whacked the most.
Hong Kong streets really heat up at night. Nathan Avenue is packed with people from abotu 5:00 pm till 11:00 and the buskers are out there. Go get them!
In front of the mansions and shopping arcades the buskers sometimes hunt in packs. If you score three or more at the same time, "whack whack!" give yourself a bonus point .
Some buskers hand out coupons, bath oil samples, menus, and other useful stuff. Give yourself a bonus point for every one of these you pick up, two if you actually use the item. Whack whack! (Note: business cards don't count. Everyone tries to hand you one of these. The Chinese are in love with business cards. It's like Valentine's Day for business people.)
Whack back. If you really want to mess with a busker's mind. Try to sell him what you are carrying. "Sorry, I don't need dim sum right now. Would you care to buy my umbrella hat? My daughter got it for me up on The Peak this morning and I'd gladly part with it for $10 HKG. It's a real steal. She paid $20." This totally crosses their wires and might just get rid of that stupid hat. Two points for trying it, five if it works.
All right. Now get out there and have fun. "Whack a Honky!" the Hong Kong Street game everyone is talking about. "Whack Whack!"