Original Post: July 22, 2007
One of my favorite things to do is to go shopping. Shocking, I know. Things are no different here in Shanghai so today we embarked on a massive shopping spree that took us to the best, and most random, that the city has to offer.
The vendors here are huge on fakes. I’m not really interested in the whole debate of is this right or wrong, it simply is what it is at the moment for me. If you are strongly against buying fake goods, just skip this part. Beneath the Museum of Science and Technology lives an enormous underground market of all the fake stuff (luxury purses, North Face stuff, name brand jeans etc). There are a hundreds of vendors and every one is trying to get you to come in and buy from them. Some of the people grab you and literally try to drag you into the store. Justin got a whole set up of new snowboard pants and a parka (funny when it’s 100 degrees out to be trying on snow stuff…) and a bunch of ‘Diesel’ jeans. I got some shoes, fans, etc. You have to bargain like crazy to get a fair price, it’s a huge process full of dramatics and hand waving and walking away, but you can get some great deals if you’re patient. I have managed to learn to say ‘how much?’ ‘too much!’ and some numbers, so I can haggle a bit with Jenny and John’s help. It is exhausting to be there for too long, but it’s amazing how cheap some of it can get. Some of the ladies make a big production of being mad that you were able to bargain them down so much and they yell that you are too clever and not to come back!
To end our shopping extravaganza we went to an older market on Dongtai Lu. I got TONS of stuff here, it’s where they have some more traditional goods, still touristy, but we are still almost the only western people everywhere we go so it doesn’t seem as touristy as I suspect it really is. It reminded me more of a flea market that has a lot of random useless stuff, but some key special pieces tucked in if you are patient enough to look for them. This place was harder to bargain at, and I didn’t do as great of a job, but I still got some really interesting things – these carved wood hanging pieces that mean (as everything seems to here) “bring you health and riches”, a combination lock that is blocks of Chinese characters (had to get the lady to write the combo really clearly), and a bunch of unusual gifts for people…no Chinatown trinkets here 😉