Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Market Days

A few posts back I referred a bit to how "western" shops (aka American/European) are not very common here in China. Most of the big cities including Beijing and Shanghai have a few western malls which are decked out with stores such as Coach, BCBG, Uniqlo, Addidas, Steve Madden, Esprit, but most of the shopping is very different. Most "shops" are typically little storefront rooms with a small array of dresses, skirts, shirts, and other various articles, but there are not multiple sizes of each item and usually there is only one. (So, good luck finding something that you 1. like 2. fits and 3. is of decent quality...) Although I haven't shopped around in these stores very often, they are still interesting to look in and browse.

Here is a great shot of some of the stores around the corner from our apartment.

On the other hand, the large multiple-floored markets are a lot of fun to shop in. They have everything from shoes to luggage to pearls and jewels to Chinese fans and kites. It is also funny because shopping at the markets is a lot like shopping at a garage sale when it comes to prices. The idea is to Bargain and BARGAIN HARD! Most of the time the salesperson will give you a ridiculous price to start off with when the actual price is only about 1/5 of what they are asking for. It is pretty fun to bargain but it does get exhausting after about an hour of shopping. I love it because the shopping is even interesting enough for Mike to enjoy! :) One of my favorite purchases here so far was a really cute little "LeSportSac" purse (I say "LeSportSac" but I am about 99% positive that it is a rip-off) that the vendor wanted 580 quai for! That is about $90! I was so proud of myself that I was able to talk her down to 30 quai or about $4.50. It is about as addicting as bidding for an item on Ebay! We've gotten some other really great stuff at these markets like "Tom's" and "Vans" shoes for Mike and a pair of "Crocs" for me.

One thing that I haven't gotten used to yet is shopping at the outdoor food markets. Michael and I stumbled across one and I couldn't believe my eyes! There was so much to look at, so many people shouting and bargaining and so many smells all in one little street market. Here is a little clip and some pictures to give you an idea. I don't think I am ever going to get used to this. I think I will just continue to shop at the "grocery store" near our apartment...

Vendors selling meat at each stall. Now just imagine this place in 95 degree heat in the middle of the day... Not very appetizing...
Fish for sale as well as FROG LEGS (front center)
Turtles for soup, anyone?

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