on April 11, 2006
It must have been about 95ºF, with stifling humidity in the air, when I headed to Stanley Market. It's an outdoor market, so summer isn't necessarily the best time to go. There are fans and air-conditioners are trying in vain to cool the masses, but with tourist season peaking in the summer, the problem was getting through sticky hot masses of people.There is one advantage to shopping Stanley's street market in the summer though -- no one's thinking about winter, and certainly not about scarves. Yet the merchants at Stanley have scarves -- wools, wool-silk blends, cashmere, pashminas, pashmina-silk blends, you get the idea -- all year round. Without a demand, shopkeepers are willing to go further down in price since the merchandise is just taking up space in the store anyway.Stanley market vendors, for odd reasons, sell the sorts of wide scarves, shawls, and wraps, that are sold in department stores across the world. But whereas a similar quality/color scarf will cost you upwards of HK$400 at, say, Wing-On or Mitsokoshi (provided that it's not a designer brand), scarves go for around Hk$200 or less. And that's just the starting price. As with all street markets in the area, bartering is part of the deal. You can score a pashmina-wool blend shawl, big enough to cover two people and then some, for HK$110. These are the same kinds of shawls and scarves that come from India, the Himalayas, China, and Thailand, that places such as Lane Crawford will exploit for ten-fold.And don't worry about having to choose from a limited selection of colors: Stanley scarf merchants have the whole rainbow. You just won't find embellishments or designer logos all over the merchandise (for once), which is just the thing for most Westerners who appreciate a certain kind of minimalism in dress.
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