Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bargaining in Shanghai

My friend, Eleni, and I decided to go shopping today. We wanted to pick up some souvenirs, explore the city, and just get out.
Our first stop was Old Town, which is even prettier each time I go. I love the old and ancient traditional Chinese architecture and just walking from street to street. The best part is the middle of Old Town, where the Tea House is located in the middle of the pond. We gone and looked to see if we could have tea up there, but it's just a tourist place, so the prices were exorbitantly high. 
Here, just like almost any other market in Shanghai you have to bargain, and bargain hard or they will rip you off. It's something I've come to learn to do and I'm not too bad at it anymore. It was pretty hard at the beginning, especially since there was a huge language barrier. But now when I bargain, they think I'm a foreigner and so automatically think I know only English. When I ask them how much it is and continue on to bargain in Chinese they are surprised and usually will go down on the price even more.
One of the times I have gone bargaining they wanted 380 yuan for a pair of shoes...knock off's I must add. I bargained will I got them for 70 yuan, or about $11. Not too bad I think, and I've been wearing them almost every day. 
We spent a few hours in Old Town, going from store to store, walking through all the streets.
Our next stop was the International Foreign Bookstore here in Shanghai, one of my favorite places. This four floor bookstore has just about any book imaginable and not only in English, but they sell books in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and almost every other language too. My favorite part here is the travel section, where tenths of copies of travel books are laid out. I can spend hours here just leafing through all the places. One day. 
I got a Chinese cook book though so hopefully when I get back home I can try out my Chinese dishes. 
Our next stop was Han City which is a huge fake market mall. Here floor after floor sells knock of designer brands as well as silk, souvenirs, and just regular items. Vendors are crazy and almost attack you in order to sell something. You constantly hear, "How much you want", "Give me price", and so on. If you're not prepared to be ambushed, your probably going to be overwhelmed and stressed out. It's great bargaining with a friend though, where one of us says an outrageously low price and we both bargain to reach something close to it. We had a great time.
Eleni wanted to get a dress for her birthday so of course we went to Forever 21, always the place to shop at. Again I am amazed at how big it is here and even with five floors, how many people there are. Some days you can't even move around, there's people everywhere. 
Finally we were done, worn out from shopping. We went to Xintiandi, the French Concession part of town. It felt like Europe, where street walkways were lined with restaurant after restaurant. We found an Italian restaurant and had pizza, yummm!

China loves their cute accessories

We were looking in a store and I came across this, I had to take a picture. Too funny

Of course I found a coffee shop :)

This statue, I wonder what they're trying to say

Nanjing Road

It was a good productive day. We were both dead on the subway ride back. 
I'm heading to the Yellow Mountains tomorrow so I'm really excited for that.
I'll write again soon!

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