Tag Archives: markets

Photo Friday – Spice Market in Jerusalem

22 Jun

The spice stall

Local markets are probably my favorite place to spend time in a new city.  You can learn an incredible amount about local culture by wandering around the market and seeing what’s for sale, which usually includes everything from local produce to local fashion.  Jerusalem’s old city has an extensive market.   Parts of it are geared nearly completely to tourism and you’ll find stall after stall of t-shirts, rugs and trinkets, BUT, if you wander off a bit down the side streets you’ll encounter the local market stalls.  We passed this vendor selling spices, clearly still close to the tourist center as the labels are in English, and the smells were intoxicating.  I want to bottle it up and be able to take it with me…perhaps a new flavor of scratch-and-sniff is in order?


Markets of Shanghai: Part II

15 Jul

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 are so many of these statue vendors, all claiming to have "real antique" versions...but really, they are all plaster or cement.

The market has been nicely updated and is filled with walkways and ponds

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.

Market snacks

Markets of Shanghai: Part I

8 Jul

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 😉

The market on Dongtai Lu

Jenny checks out a vendor

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