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  • Debra Palmen

Hong Kong Or Bust

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

The pop-up shop has now closed, so thank you to everyone who came by and offered their support. And to those of you who were there in spirit.

The next major event for us will be Collectorama, the biggest antiques fair in Queensland, on 3 September at the Nambour Showgrounds. So I’ve got a couple of weeks to tart-up some of the pieces that never made it into the pop-up shop.

The big news of this week, though, is that the tickets are purchased and the planning has begun. We’re off on our next buying trip on 20 September. We’ll be away for a month, which is the minimum time it realistically takes for a successful trip.

The Bright Lights of Nathan Road - here we come!

Can you guess where we've decided to stopover this time? We like Hong Kong. More specifically we like Kowloon, where we always stay when we’re passing through. If you’ve read my book you’ll know from Chapter 18 how much fun you can have in this neck of the woods.

If you haven’t yet read my book, it’s no longer free but for a limited time I’m offering the electronic version for a significant discount, so you can get a super-cheap ($4.00!) copy by going here: Or if you're in Australia. You can search under my name, Debra Palmen, and that will take you straight to my book. Click on the book's picture or name, and you'll be on my page.

All I ask, if you buy my book so cheaply, is that you leave a review on Amazon when you’ve read it. The print version will be available soon. I’ve seen the proof copy, and for those of you holding out for a print book, it’s going to be nice.

The final analysis of the pop-up shop was that it was a happy experience; well worth the effort and profitable enough to send us on our second buying trip for this year.

The local shouty-man conspiracy theorist came back to harangue me one more time before we closed, yelling from the doorway something about the Romans before he legged it. Perhaps this time I was a member of the People's Front of Judea. Or the Judean People's Front. Or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Judea. But this time I didn't laugh, despite being cast in rural Queensland version of The Life of Brian. At least, I didn't chortle until he had run off down the street.

It was lovely having Calypso as the furry shop manager again. She alternated with Caleb for a few weeks until his extreme naughtiness was too much and he was banned from coming back. Just as he had planned. Calypso is my good girl, though. Many people who first met her as a kitten in our old shop were happy to remake her acquaintance, and she made many new fans.

Another nice thing was hearing how creative many of our customers were with the pieces they bought. Look at what Sue and Julia from North Coast Lampshades did with a large vintage glass carboy (bottle) and a beautiful old blue enamel storage vat. That has to be one of the most creative uses of a storage vat I’ve seen. My own vats are used to store potatoes, onions, garlic and ginger, and my largest one is used to store plastic rubbish bags. I thought that was dang clever of me, but Sue and Julia took creative thinking to new levels.

On this coming trip I hope to see Zoltan the Magnificent, one of the main suppliers of my excellent enamelware. I usually buy at least 50 pieces from him, so we’re always happy to see each other. Hopefully I’ll buy a good haul from him this time as well. You’ll be able to see how I fare in almost real time, via this Newsletter.

But before I enter into negotiations with Zoltan the Magnificent, we shall linger for a few days in Hong Kong. So what should we do? Your ideas would be appreciated.

We’ve done the cheap t-shirts and bags market shopping. We’ve done the antiques shopping in Hollywood Road. We’ve caught the cable-car to the top of Victoria Peak, visited Hong Kong Disneyland, and wandered about the Harbour on those cute little chug-boat ferries. And we’ve tried a lot of restaurants. A lot, lot of restaurants and little hole-in-the-wall establishments where you’re not entirely sure what you’re eating.

We’ve also spent an amusing hour or two in Wedding Dress Street, goggling at the fairy tale confections young Chinese women seem to favour for their nuptials. I don’t remember the real name of this street, but everyone refers to it as Wedding Dress Street. It has about 30 shops, window after window of froth and lace in any colour you can imagine. If you want to look like a walking meringue when you next sashay down the aisle just ask me, because there are a few shops I can recommend.

So what else can we do? Over to you guys. If you’ve got any good ideas, please leave me a comment below. I've heard interesting life stories from some of the people I've met in holding cells, but we probably don’t have enough time for get-arrested shenanigans on this occasion. I know, I know, that rules out a whole bunch of good ideas.

Traditionally I get my hair straightened every time we pass through Asia, but this time I’m foregoing the hairdresser because the nuclear attack on my head in April by the hairdresser in Bangkok is still holding. It won’t last for 12 months, though, so I’m risking the return of the curls and me looking like Sideshow Bob during Queensland’s summer. No pointing and laughing!

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