Saturday, 3 November 2012

Beijing Day 9 - Sanlitun & Yashow Clothing Market

Was planning to go to Sanlitun (三里屯) sometimes during this trip. It was a perfect day for it because it was raining cats and dogs (we forgot to bribe the weather god with food offering).

After a quick obligatory tour of the high-end shopping mall with designer label shops, we went to the next door downmarket Yashow or Yaxiu Clothing Market (雅秀服装市场) for the actual shopping. Beijing had a few of such designer label knock-off shopping areas. We went to the Silk Street 2 nights ago. None are bigger than the Shanghai's Qipu Road. Still it's big when comparing to similar markets in other countries.

Sanlitun, Beijing
Sanlitun Shopping Centre

Seasoned shoppers recommend to bargain down to 75% of the shoppers' offer prices. We bought a parka for our coming trip to Datong next week. Their asking price was ¥400, and we haggled it down to ¥200. We could have driven the prices down a bit more, but that last ¥50 takes too much effort.

Such bargaining isn't for everyone, especially tourists who got used to buy things off the pricetags. Some of the price haggling got a little personal, and out of hand. It's not uncommon to see heated bargaining that looked more like an argument. It's quite funny to watch if it doesn't happen to you. Since I had zero interest in shopping, these "trade shows" bought me some measure of boredom reliefs.

These shopkeepers have no problems if you ignore them as you're walking past, showing little interests in their merchandise. When you started to make enquiry with eagerness and making some efforts in bargaining, it would get their knickers in a twist if you suddenly ignoring them and walking away.  I saw a couple of examples of this category of customers being hurled a few colourful Chinese expressions as they walked away, ignoring the repeated loud cries of "How much you say? How much?" What followed automatically sounded like a barrage from an automatic rifle of Chinese name calling. Well, if you dangle a carrot so close to the mouth that somebody can almost taste it, and then just snatch it away, you're being a teaser customer. Nothing riled these shopkeepers up more than teaser customers.

It rained even heavier when we decided to call it a day. Caught yourself in this weather would be nightmarish, but Lady Luck decided to give us a break. We was able to catch a taxi within 3 mins, which was hard in Beijing any time of the day.  In this weather seeed like a absolute fluke.

Beijing cabbie are in general stressful, and this weather wouldn't help. Well, like I said, Lady Luck was also on our side, and gave us an exceptional cabbie. He was humming a relaxing tune as we got into his taxi, quite a contrast to the inclement weather. And greeted us with "Ciao". He explained that's "Hello" in Spanish and Italian. To find a cheerful Beijing cabbie is a rare sight. And next to impossible in this weather.

At the traffic light, he took out 1 of his 5 Rubic Cubes of various sizes and shapes on top of his dashboard, twisted and and rotated in blurring speed, the Cube was solved with the same colour in all sides before the traffic light changed. He told us this took 9.2 sec as he stopped the timer on his dashboard. When asked, he told me that his record is 8 sec. Seems like he was 1 of the very few Beijing taxi drivers who was able to cope with stress with diversion and right attitude.

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