Happy weekend blog readers,
I am so pleased to tell you that Kim is back to her normal self again. This is quite evident in her marathon shopping that we did on Saturday. 4-5 hours in the Fake Mall at the Science and Technology Center proved she is back to her full strength again. I bet her Friday night vitamin B shot also helped out a lot as well. To all of you, thanks for your words of support and prayers during the last couple of weeks. We love you all.
So Kim and I did some shopping and I am still amazed at how much business takes place on the streets of Shanghai. Now we took the subway to the Fake Mall and the subway stop is about a km. from our apartment. So all of the photos you see are taken around our place. As well, remember we live in a very nice area of town, so we don’t get the poorer versions of the street vendors around here. I must confess that it was fairly warm outside for November, but everyone was wearing winter coats while Kim and I wore only T shirts and shorts (Kim wore Capri’s). It was quite warm in the sun, but a little cooler in the shade. The people around us are dressed in their winter jackets. After all it is November. Folks looked at us as if we came from another world. I guess we do.
First you see the DVD vendors who work off of their bikes. They carry about 1000 DVDs with them and quite a few are current English releases. You pay about 4¥ for each DVD (65 cents). But these are the lousy pirated DVDs that are filmed with a hand held in the theatre. We bought 5 the first time and the quality was so poor we won’t buy from them anymore. The DVD store sells the same DVDs but they are either really well pirated or legal. We both think the former. There is usually a flower or a plant seller on the streets and they do a booming business. Again they do this from the back of their bikes and the flowers all look very healthy and prices are very reasonable. This mother daughter team showed up with 2 bikes and had a huge selection.
This vendor was out tonight and he had a large selection of dishes and kitchen ware on the back of his bike. Quality was ok and the prices were very cheap. I asked him in my best mime voice if I could take a picture. He saw the camera, nodded his head and so I raised the camera to take a picture and get tried to run away. Not sure what that was about.
There are often some weird guys selling something that you aren’t quite sure what you are to do with your product. This photo shows you a bag of baby rattle snakes. Some guy is in the street selling them in a bag. I am not sure if they are pets or supposed to be dinner. You can’t ask as these guys have zero English, but they love the fact you take an interest in their product and so they smile lots and talk to us. They don’t even seem to mind so much when we take a few pictures and don’t buy anything. He laughed and kept poking the snakes with a stick so i could see they were still alive. Very strange.
This cool dude was selling furs. I think He was from northern China. He was just as freaked out to see two white people as we were to see him selling these small furs. Where’s PETA when you of need them? He was dressed in multiple layers and looked like he was freezing. I guess when your summer hits 40 degrees, a November day at 22 degrees seems freezing.
There are a number magazine kiosks on the street and they all seem to sell the same Chinese versions of Elle, Cosmo or GQ, but all in Chinese. They also sell cigarettes and special coupons for anything they can. These are in fixed little kiosks that can be locked at night. They are located right on the side walks. This guy was sound asleep in his kiosk. I marvel at how these folks can take a nap just about anywhere at any time of the day. Then I realized a lot of them sleep on those nasty bamboo beds so they probably don’t get too much sleep during the evening anyways. Falling is asleep on a cement block in a kiosk might actually be an improvement.
The subway station sells transportation cards. You can buy these cards and put a couple of hundred ¥ on the cards. It’s good for the subway, buses or even taxis . 40 bucks will last you about a month providing there are not taking too many taxis. The last picture here is a fellow selling dried fruit of the back of his bicycle. Again I believe he was from northern China with the little pillbox hat and the darker skin. He was very friendly and wanted badly to talk with us. He was calling to us to buy some of his fruit in Chinese, but we had no idea what he was saying so we told him in our best Chinese his food looked delicious. He smiled and we were on our way.
All of the street vendors let you haggle a little, but some are fixed on their prices. You learn pretty quickly. The guys you really haggle with are the watch, purse salesmen, which brings us to the story of the big watch. I have been having a little trouble with my dependable $29.95 Sears Timex so I decided to by a big watch. We were at the Science and Technology center cooling off outside. It was quite warm in the kiosk mall. This young guy approached us and wanted to sell us a big, big watch. I asked how much and a 45 minute sales job took place. He started at ¥1250 and we finally agreed on ¥120($23). I know what you are thinking. I paid way too much. You know that’s true because I only haggled for 45 minutes. To have haggled to the best price, I needed another four hours, but we were in a hurry. This guy seemed like a nice guy so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and gave him my $22. what really cinched it for me was he asked where we were from and when we told him Vancouver, he said he knew about Richmond. I suspect the little guy hangs around the Richmond night market in the summers selling watches. Anyways, I now own a big, big, watch, probably worth $17 bucks.
Finally Kim and I went shopping again on Sunday. I have been going nuts without my music so I decided to buy a guitar. I purchased a new Yamaha in a hard shelled case for about $250 Cdn, this included a Canadian flag strap, a couple of picks and a hard shell case. I may try to bring it home on the plane with me. Wish me luck.
We also stopped at City Shop and picked up a couple of groceries and ended our day with a foot massage. My regular massage girl 78 was working, howler ever, 83 wasn’t working today, and she is Kim’s regular foot rub girl . So Kim had to settle for 77. Kim thought she was really good but she was about six less than her regular girl. I came home and played guitar for about and hour until the fingers said “No more.”. What a great day! I went shopping with my sweetie pie, had a cappuccino, bought a guitar, bacon, cheese and had a foot rub. We went and tried a new Italian restaurant for dinner. It was very cheap but the food was mediocre. Yes, definitely a great day! Tomorrow, back to work at school.