The story of the cute pink bag I didn't really want

Mong Kok in Hong Kong is a dusty, damp, and densely crowded place where people go to shop for awesome bargains. It's almost like Divisoria here in Manila, except that there are more Chinese per square foot! Get it, Hong Kong is in China, ha ha? Pff anyway.

There's a lot of amazing fashion finds to be had in Mong Kok. There is only one rule in that wild, unfiltered place: bargain. Then, bargain some more! I was blissfully unaware of that until I started buying a few things, one of which was this cute pink satchel.

Okay, before we continue - Hong Kong dollar conversion confused me greatly. It's not like US dollar where you know that one dollar is a huge amount; or yen, where Y1000 is not really a lot of money. But 1 HKD is equivalent to about 5 Philippine pesos (or 7 PHP if you were foolish enough to change money at the airport). To my mind that's not a terribly big gap. 50 HKD is only P250, so what. But 200 HKD is already 1,000 PHP. 250 HKD is already 1,250 PHP, and so on. Before I know it, I've spent money I wouldn't have otherwise spent if I just actually computed exact conversion rates rather than just winging it in my head.

So. Back to Mong Kok. My mother and I visited it in the afternoon. I think it was on our first day in Hong Kong; we were both still excited about exploring a country new to us. It was a terrible idea. I was tired, and I didn't expect the area to be so ridiculously crowded. Apparently, Mong Kok is named by the Guinness Book of Records as the busiest district in the world due to its extremely dense population. Well, if I knew that, I would have avoided the migraine I got while I was there.

Now I'm beginning to sound like a b*tch. Sorry! I would have loved to say that I loved Hong Kong, but I still feel the same about it as when I last blogged about it - it's not my scene. I'd go there to shop but it's not a place I'd like to hang out in, you know? #hashtagprejudiced

Back to the bag. I spotted a bag I really wanted to take home - a sling that suspiciously looked like a copy of a Bottega Veneta, but it was so pretty I didn't mind. The price started with HKD 280 but I managed to bargain it down to HKD180. I felt so proud of myself! A nice bag for only PHP 1,000, wow right?

Not! The next stall had another cute bag I spotted earlier on. The price started out the same at HKD 280. Okay. Then I haggled and went down to HKD 180. I lost interest so I told the vendor thanks but I have a bag already. Okay. Now the fun part: the vendor lowered the price down by HKD20 every step I took away from her store, until it was only HKD 80 (PHP 440). By that time I felt so bad and so sorry for the vendor that I just had to buy it.

The two bags I got were pretty bags, don't get me wrong, but I felt that I overpaid for the first one and that I was just guilt-tripped into getting the second. I didn't enjoy the shopping experience. I was gyped! Manipulated! It wasn't a nice feeling to have. But what did I expect in a place like Mong Kok?

Finally used the bag last Saturday after I got it almost three months ago

Nonetheless, it is a nice bag. It goes with my outfits and I got it at a good price. I'd still want to visit Mong Kok again in the near future, thoroughly ready with mad haggling skillz and some aspirin.