Bad picture, but - this was walking home from dinner last night. The big park down the road from the apartment. Apparently Old People Work Out happens in the a.m. AND the p.m.! This time though they had the ding-ding Chinese music playing and it was a whole choreographed thing with rows of old Chinese men and women doing these high kicks and arms sways. It was quite fancy and very Friday-nightish feeling. Like a big, Chinese, old people, street party!
Yesterday afternoon when Zach and Julie got home they had a friend of theirs from the Cities in the states who had come into China as he and his family are thinking of moving here. He had come to kind of scout things out and get a feel for what there was. So today Julie took us shopping so he could get his wife and kids gifts from the Pearl Market, which is the huge market where you can buy chopsticks and silk wall hangings and knock off bags and scarves and jewelry - TONS of jewelry - especially jade and black pearls.
I've been here before and there are a few of the little stalls that Julie goes to each time and I hadn't planned on getting anything but ended up with some little gifts and odds and ends. But the Pearl Market overall is pretty overwhelming. Its about 3 or 4 floors and there are just stalls after stalls of the same things and as you walk along the men and women working in them will just come out and stand in front of you or follow you calling "hey lady! Nice lady! You my friend! I give you good price - just for you my good friend!" I love it - in a touristy way - but its SOOOOO annoying and after about an hour of it you just want to snap. But you muster on because you can get jade chopsticks for like $3 and silk scarves for $10. But eventually you just have to leave.
|The Pearl Market|
And then, Julie told us about these places that all the expats go to and that you have to know someone who knows someone who is someone to know where to go for these places. She then proceeds to take us out a back door and we walk through alleys and through passageways and then we come to these building and we walk in these side doors and down stairs ways and then we get to this back corner that they've hung all these fake green trails of leaves all around so you can barely even tell that its there and Julie points to the corner where theres a camera and she says "this is where they see who wants to come in and they decided if they'll let you in or not." She pulls aside some of the ropes of greens and theres a man who suddenly opens the door and motions us in.
Welcome to - The Knock Knock Store. This is literally what people call it.
Inside the Knock Knock store there is room after room of things - one room is coats. The next room is purses. The next room is sunglasses. We got stuck on the room that was shoes :) Wow - are you surprised.... Combine me and Julie and poor Jim just sat there in a corner playing something on his phone waiting for us.
I don't know if these things were real or not, but you could have fooled me if they weren't because I know these products and everything about them including the tags and the boxes looked real! I wound up with two pairs of Toms, I sadly couldn't find Tory Birches that fit me that were the style I wanted, but I did get myself a great new pair of Hunters as the two pair that I have at home are cracked and so if its really wet out they do leave my feet wet. For all of them I think I only paid about 660 yuan which is about $107! Considering - if they were real - I probably would have paid about $350 for them all. Happy face! :)
THEN - Julie had just found out about this new shop that was an outlet for Lulu Lemon. She had never even heard of it and so I was telling her - I personally don't always prefer them at home like I do Lucy, but they're athletic wear that can be pretty expensive as well.
We wanted to hit that shop as well so we went out another back door and down more alleys and into a building and UP stairs and then came to a plain old door and just knocked.
And the door opened and revealed a small office room just lined with Lulu Lemon stuff...
I did end up once again buying :) Julie and I needed to try on a few things so she pulled up this sheet and just pinned it to some clothes and there Julie and I stood changing. Wasn't quite like home - but it surely worked! I wound up with about 4 pairs of awesome comfortable pants and about 3 different tops. All for about $120.
CHINA! I don't know if you're real - but I LOVE your stores! :)
Tonight the boys have a Halloween party so we all get to go out for dinner (Indian food I do believe:) that or an awesome French Vietnamese place that Julie and I found while I was here over Chinese New Years). And then - excited - Julie and I are going for our $5 hour long foot massages right down the road here.
Oh - walking to the Pearl Market - had to share - can you spot the child being Chinese potty trained?
|Potty-training trap door ... more hole in the wall?|
And - my Friday frustration.... (even though this is Saturday - I chose to forget about it last night and today but I'm going to have to sooner or later). The customer I'm working with here has known since May that I'm coming - in fact, they're the ones who issued my invite letter for my visa so they knew when my dates were. We've been talking this whole time and I've been asking them what they want me to do while I'm here, etc. They chose Wednesday of this week to send me an email with a list of things they wanted me to speak to their sales team on. I thought - ok - just speak. I'll figure it out later. And then Thursday, which is the DAY AFTER Wednesday in case you didn't realize :) They send me an email saying, we are looking for your presentation so we can study it before you come next week. To which I'm like "presentation?". Yes - what we sent you.
So I kind of started piecing something together even though I was still doing school and taking care of the boys. And then Friday afternoon they email and tell me that they want me to come and do the presentation on Monday and then the following two days will be hospital calls. MONDAY!
So now I have to spend an hour or two over the weekend (that is still technically my vacation) working on this silly presentation so I have it to send to them for them to present on Monday. Oy vay! How do you say that in Chinese! I guess I'm going to equate it that I'm going to do work this weekend and then next week during the days when APEC is being prepared for and I can't work with our customer, then I'll take that time as my vacation.
As Julie says - welcome to China! So typical Chinese! We want this - oh - in like 10 minutes - thanks!