Hong Kong has one of the most impressive selection of shopping malls I’ve seen anywhere. It’s somehow well embedded in the local culture and the local way of life and so almost every MTR subway station has one if not two or three large shopping malls attached to it or closely nearby.
While visiting classmates at City University of Hong Kong, just off Kowloon Tong station, I came to know the upmarket shopping mall of Festival Walk. Strangely enough, if you’re a student using an MTR, you –have- to go through the shopping mall in order to reach the university. You would expect the shopping mall be adjusted to students to make the most of the daily 10,000+ students who come and go, but this mall is not for them. This mall is more aimed at the posh neighbors, with world-class brands and upper middle class pricing.
Which makes it interesting to walk around. As in most HK malls, there are usually a number of things that are suppose to attract the locals beyond shopping. The “Glacier”, an ice skating ring, perhaps one of the very few in HK, was the thing I liked the most.
I remember there was one in Taipei somewhere (Tianmu?), but surely, you don’t really expect ice-rings in tropical sub-tropical weather countries and so it was fun to discover one and see how well the locals skate. Some of the kids there, I must say, were absolutely terrific doing flying acrobatics and dangerous maneuvers you usually only see on TV.
Other mall attractions are more fashion oriented. I honestly don’t get why Barbie is a fashion icon in HK, but there was a big Barbie setup with lots of young Chinese girls posing next to their western looking bright hair blue eyes and deep cleavage Barbie role-models.
To continue the east-west paradox, the crowd was invited to see a make-up session at the very pink Giorgio Armani fashion stand. You might have guessed it, they brought in a western Barbie looking model to demonstrate to the locals how their make-up products may transform this model from an ordinarily gorgeous looking model to an outstandingly gorgeous looking model.
So, those who are not from upper-middle class families that may afford all the Channel, Dior, Armani brands also find a thing or two to do. Most of those malls – especially AMC – have terrific movie theaters (50-60HK$/student), grand international food courts, large array of restaurants and coffee shops, and an exhibition or two. And most importantly, it has aircon, a very strong brain-breezing aircon, so what’s not to like?