Friday, October 5th
We did very little today except for taking a trip to a shopping market a couple blocks from the hotel. That was an experience! There were six floors to the market. The first three floors had clothing and the top three had toys and collectibles. The place was very large and everything was set up with little 12’ x 6’ stalls in rows. Every stall had two VERY aggressive Chinese teenagers working. As you walked by the stall, all you heard was “Nice lady, you want some jeans?”, “Hey Lady, you buy scarf…you need nice cashmere scarf.” You learned quickly not to make eye contact and just say “no” and walk on by. One time I made the mistake of looking too long at something and one of the girls grabbed me by the arm and physically pulled me into the shop. Dave had to grab my other arm and pull me out. She was a tough little thing!! Even Dave was not immune. When Dave stopped to look at some Chinese art scrolls, one of the shop girls grabbed onto Dave’s arm. He drug her almost 4 feet before he realized she was not going to let go!
If you do wish to purchase something, none of the prices are marked on the items. You ask the cost of the item and the shop girls get out their large calculators and type a price in. The price starts out inflated from 500% to 1000% or more. You are expected to then give your price and then they try to get you to go up from there. It’s all show, and in the end, we are still naive Americans and pay too much for some little token we thought was cute. It was fun, however, and I know some of the shop girls who acted disappointed when we were in front of them were probably quite gleeful when we left.
And, with an exception of a trip to McDonald’s for dinner, that was the extent of our day. Last night, we thought we were going to come through our travel without experiencing too much jet lag, but when we laid down for a one hour nap this afternoon it turned into a 5 hour nap for both of us. We couldn’t believe how tired we both were.
Tomorrow we are taking a tour of part of the Great Wall, and we are looking forward to that.
As I’m writing this, Dave is watching Chinese TV and we think that what we are seeing is a group of famous Chinese teenagers giving gifts to little Chinese orphan children all lined up in a row. As the kids get the gifts, most of them break into tears at the kindness of the simple gift they are receiving. These are very simple gifts…baseball caps, notebooks, markers, and t-shirts. It is very touching and very sad. It is also very nice to see that the orphan children and their situations are being recognized across the nation in some form.
Kris and Dave