Serge et la phoque says goodbye to Wanchai and Hong Kong

One of the fanciest date night restaurants in this part of town has closed its doors and relocated to London.

😥

When I first heard the news, I asked the staff, all of whom denied that Serge was leaving its Wan Chai location. I guess maybe they just weren’t told at the time. Perhaps it was timed with a rental increase.

We wonder what will take its place.

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Bye bye Mr Simms, Hello Dr Wong

The olde Mr Simms sweet shop sat on an unassuming corner on Spring Garden Lane. It’s a good location, just next to QRE and Hopewell Center, across the road from the jockey club gambling ticket office (not sure if this is the right description for it). The sign didn’t really stand out though, and when I went in once looking for a particular item, the shop girls in there were unnecessarily terse with me. So despite it’s appealing window displays and witty blackboard signs left on the pavement, I never went back in.

The irony of its replacement was not lost on me. From a candy shop that stocked almost every coloured additive to a great deal of sugar and possibly a similar amount of starch and flavouring, the space has now become a GP clinic.

It’s too bad that Wan Chai is losing diversity in shop choices… perhaps Okashi land is drawing most of the crowd. Will the Mr Simms sweet shop move elsewhere in Wan Chai? I’m guessing that the GP will make more money in the long run.

The Wan Chai scene in April

There were three articles describing how much income, interest (as in wanting to know, not rate) and inebriation would be happening in Wan Chai over these 2 holiday weekends.

From financial conferences to lighting exhibitions, expensive Art shows (Art Basel, see some pics below) to the biggest Rugby sporting event in Hong Kong, a rush of events has brought a huge number of visitors to Hong Kong and specifically to Wan Chai.

Yes, it’s the location. The HK exhibition center is here, the bars and restaurants, the red light districts all within a wandering over some pedestrian bridges.

The prediction of a boom in clients to the bars, prostitutes, late night love motels must send all on that short stretch of Lockhart to Fenwick into a giddy madness.

I wanted to go check out the scene and take a few photos for you, but I sprained my ankle badly on Friday and am unable to put any weight on it.

If you wake early enough on Sunday I’m sure you’ll get to see the “after party scene”. In the meantime I’ll just have to read about it in the news.

News Articles:

Socially irresponsible drinking’: Sevens means big business for Wan Chai bars

Inside Wan Chai’s love hotels during Hong Kong Sevens week

Rohypnol and rip-offs: the dangers of Wan Chai during Sevens week

Here’s a video describing the articles above.

The darker side of the Hong Kong Sevens Weekend

Here are some of the Art pieces I liked at Art Basel 2018.

Ceramic pop up back in Wan Chai – April 2018

It seems these ceramic pop up shops are very popular.. not surprising given that there are so many patterns and shapes of dishes to choose from. This pop up shop is here for the month of April 2018, but if you really need some ceramic ware, get there soon as they only stay as long as the landlord doesn’t find a longer term tenant.

Location

The shop looks like this. It sells the ceramic ware but also a mish mash of household items.

What’s for sale…. plates, saucers, bowls galore… here are the pics so you can plan your purchases and self brought bags to cart it all home!

Grey metal fences for human traffic control

I came across this article in my fb feed and thought it made an interesting point. Fences in cities are designed to keep humans and cars separate, giving cars the ownership of the road and right of way, while pedestrians are limited to sidewalks often not more than five feet wide.

This is quite regularly reduced to two feet or three if renovations are taking place, bamboo stakes appear as obstacles to avoid and limit wheelchair and stroller access. Some contractors renovating ground floor shops brazenly invade the sidewalk with plywood partitions to create the facade and forcing everyone to squeeze.

Is this an offence? The invasion of a public right of way? Even a temporary one? Surely it ought to be, on par with illegally parked vehicles.

Other uses of grey metal fences aside from political campaign propaganda include the following…(seen in Wan Chai)

Hanging planters (nice gesture, please maintain)

Leaning bamboo scaffolding. Well, these fences are certainly sturdy enough for that.

Locking and abandoning a bike. For this purpose, it’s perfect.

The author is right. It doesn’t protect the pedestrians from accidents. It’s certainly not for leaning against for a conversation, it’s to stop pedestrians from taking the shortest route possible to the other side.

Compare this to Johnston road where you can cross the tram tracks freely. It just has so much more of a community feel. Too bad DVRC isn’t considering Wan Chai yet.

What’s happening at Lee Tung Avenue

If you haven’t been to Wanchai lately you should come during Chinese New Year. The streets which are usually congested with buses and cars are quiet, clean and relatively pollution free.

Lee Tung Avenue has spared no expense on decorations, stringing up lights and putting on display a giant dog for the instagram crowd.

There’s also a slew of small events for the visitors and neighbourhood community to participate in… most things are shut for a few more days so this is the only attraction.

I’m looking forward to the lion dance. It’s usually a really fun performance and the lion dancers leap quite energetically to the beat. Reminds me of the famous lion dancing troupe from Johor that so popularised the lions balancing precariously on poles and on top of one another.

Prepare your tips (red packets) if you’re planning to get some good luck from them.

See you there!

Marks and Spencer Food Store Opening Hours

Why don’t corporate websites publish their opening hours?

This morning rogue #1 requested clementines. She said: “I like the ones that are easy to peel and without seeds. Can you go to Marks and Spencer to buy them.”

Geez. Ok so rather than disappoint a four year old, I checked that the local fruit shops didn’t have anything similar (ok they had the Japanese Mikan version at twice the price) and hopped on a bus to the nearest M&S food hall.

I recalled that opening hours were later on Sundays and public holidays than the rest of the week but I couldn’t remember if it was 8am instead of 9am or 10am instead of 9am.

I looked up their website only to find this.

Hmm. Ok address yes but no opening hours. Urgh. Am I going to wait around for an hour or get there just on time?

It was 8.45am on a Sunday morning and I waited 17 minutes. The auto glass doors rolled open for me at 9.02am and two other waiting women (who arrived just after I did).

I picked up 3 packs of easy peelers and 1 pack of Satsumas at 49 HKD each. Three freshly baked croissants at 13 HKD each.

The clementines were a hit with the kids on our hike, I distributed them at the summit and the wonderful perfumed scent of small citrus fruits filled the air.

So now you know when the opening hours are for M&S in Queens Road East..!

Digging beneath the dirt… To find the good and the gritty