Original Post: July 23, 2007
As if day 1 of shopping wasn’t enough, we spent pretty much the whole next day shopping as well. We started out by going to a fabric market, a huge complex with three floors of fabric stores and tailors. On each floor there are stalls of vendors selling everything from basic cotton, print patterns, silks, leather, fur…you name it, they have it. You can get anything you want copied (say, my most favorite pair of pants) in any fabric you want for about $10 plus the cost of the fabric. This is a spectacular place and while we could have spent all day here, we needed to move on to bigger and more varied shopping experiences.
Next we were off to Yuyuan market, which is a big mall-style shopping area in Shanghai. It has a lot of traditional architecture that has been restored so it looks new, and it is PACKED with people and vendors. The complex itself is huge and the inside has nice air-conditioned stores and restaurants. Most of the stores sell the same touristy trinkets as everywhere else, but they try to charge you 20 times as much as the stalls just outside the complex. We wandered around for a few hours and bought a whole bunch of things. Again, you have to bargain like crazy for anything like a reasonable price. Jenny is pretty good at this and knows all the numbers (as opposed to the, oh, ten that I know) so we mostly just let her take care of that. At one point we went inside part of the complex that is dedicated entirely to jewelry. The whole first floor is diamonds, the second floor is jade, and the third was all kinds of beads. You can pick whatever kind of beads you want and they will string necklaces for you. We went nuts here. I ended up with at least a dozen beaded necklaces, and that was before we hit the pearl section.
There’s a little town just outside Shanghai that is known for freshwater pearls, we are actually going to take a trip there tomorrow, but apparently it’s cheaper to buy the same pearls in Shanghai. Jenny has a favorite pearl stand so off we went! Like the bead stands, the pearls can be bought pre-strung or loose and you can have them made into whatever you like – earrings, necklaces, pendants, you get the idea. They have every variation of freshwater pearl you can imagine, from traditional white to a range of colors that include pink and black (both naturally that way) and all kinds of dyed pearls. We ended up purchasing necklaces and earrings for pretty much everyone we’ve ever known…the prices are THAT good. (Incidentally when I came back to the USA I took one of the necklaces to a shop in NYC to have it evaluated and they gave me a valuation that was higher than the price I paid! If you go to Shanghai, get yourself LOADS of these…)
After we got the jewelry we headed outside to grab a snack and Justin and I decided to brave the street food. We got some sort of fried tofu sqaures that were bland and mushy, but we also got something that resembeled a dough ball that was rather delicious. It was fried and crunchy on the outside, but creamy on the inside, sort-of like cheese…? We declined the roasted pigeon and mini-sparrows on a stick.