Next to Japan and Taiwan, Hong Kong i THE epicenter of new technology. And that is one big reason why I really love Hong Kong already, technology-crazed as I am. Yesterday I made my first – but certainly not last – visit to the markets of the Mong Kok district. And you bet I was amazed! When you get up from the MTR (the Hong Kong underground rail system) you will find yourself visually attacked by hundreds and hundreds of signs and billboards calling for your attention.
Then you start walking through the streets, along with seemingly one millon others. On every street you will find a dozen or so of tech shops selling mainly mobile phones, PDA:s and MP3-players. Glittering counters with so many models of phones, etc. that at least I get dizzy. And that is also the problem of shopping here – how can I decide what I want and compare different models? The english of the salesmen (and -women) mainly incorporates geeky abbreviations (MMS, WiFi, 3G) but not much more, and the prices are rarely shown. This makes it very hard for me to shop – I want hard specs and clear prices to be able to compare. The best way would either be to learn chinese (or get a shopping guide), alternatively to decide for one model in advance and then just compare prices.
The main attraction of Mong Kok is the three story computer center. It’s crammed with narrow booths with computer peripherals hanging both in front, beside and over you. They sell stuff you normally only would find in suspicious online shops, and they sell it cheap and in great variety. For example you can find a plethora of wireless notebok mice, FM-radio transmitters for Mp3-players, ultra-thin keyboards, external hard-disk drives, USB-fans, mobile cases or specialized cables. They also sell laptops and LCD TV:s that would cause unbearable desire for any given techno-geek. One of the most interesting parts of the center is the illegal software store that sells pirated software and games. You browse through the software cases in a small room and write their numbers on a small note. Then you give your note to a guy in a counter and pay for it. In return you get a receipt containing a pickup-time and location. Ours where twenty minutes later, and when we went to the specified location a guy with a handsfree showed up, looking like a mafia guy, and gave us a hidden package of CD:s and DVD:s in exchange for our receipt. Very interesting concept of separating the buying of illegal goods from the delivery.
Anyway, my biggest problem now is that my mobile phone, an old Ericsson T65, died on me as soon as I tried to change SIM-cards. So I need a new phone. On top of that, I really need a camera – at the moment I’m relying on Claes camera. As I’ve mentioned, it isn’t a very easy task to buy these things – I want the best specs for the best price. I haven’t even begun looking for a camera (even though an Exilim looks really nice). So far I have found a couple of really cool mobile phones though: