Archive for the ‘Living in China’ Category

Beijing, Take Two

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Pics of my trip to Beijing over the weekend (5/28-5/30).

Mopping up some characters

Temple of Heaven

me in front of the Temple

stairway to Heaven

inside the Temple

I let him borrow my mustache

posing in front of Mao

Mutianyu Great Wall

wish I knew what it said...

sliding down the Great Wall

inside the Forbidden City

more Forbidden City


Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Pictures from my trip to Shanghai, 4/23-4/25.

in front of the Pearl Tower

building on the left is the 2nd tallest building in the world

view from the Hyatt

China's building for the Expo

"Haibao" - mascot for the Expo

Dandong…Or How I Learned to Get Really Close to North Korea

Monday, April 5th, 2010

For our 3-day weekend, some of the teachers and I decided to go to this city called Dandong, which is about a 4-hour bus ride from Dalian.  What makes Dandong special is that it borders North Korea, separated only by the Yalu River.  The two countries are connected by the Friendship Bridge, which is one of the few ways to enter and leave the country, and is only used by automobile traffic.  While pedestrians are not allowed on this bridge, tourists can go to an older bridge 100 meters away that was bombed by the Americans during the Korean War.  It takes you halfway across the river where you can see people fishing, some old/abandoned buildings, and a ferris wheel, among other things.

Another landmark of Dandong is the Hushan Great Wall (Tiger Mountain Great Wall), which marks the eastern end of the Ming Dynasty’s extension of the Wall.

Below are some pictures, and in a separate post I uploaded a video of us climbing the Wall and walking the Friendship Bridge.

big Mao statue in one of Dandong's main plazas

entrance to Hushan

midway through the climb

at the top

a tight squeeze down from the watch tower

Friendship Bridge

over the YaLu River, and N.Korea is behind me

where the bridge was bombed

NK to the left, China to the right

I love China

Hushan Mountain/Friendship Bridge video

Monday, April 5th, 2010


Christmas in Beijing

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Happy New Year!  Here are some pictures from my trip to Beijing…

Beijing 083

on the train, riding top bunk

Beijing 106

Beijing 014

Tian'anmen Square

Tian'anmen Square

Bird's Nest

Bird's Nest

Beijing 093

Yao Ming

Beijing 097

Inside the Tiananmen Gate (or "Gate of Heavenly Peace)

monument in front of Mao's Mausoleum on Tiananmen Sq

monument in front of Mao's Mausoleum on Tiananmen Sq

Bargaining in Beijing

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

You can read a lot of bargaining tips online to assure you are not getting ripped off (i.e. your first counter-offer should be a quarter of the amount the seller gives you).  The one piece of advice I wish I saw on every site was to tell me to enter these supermarkets with balls of steel and to never let go of them.  If one does not hold their ground when haggling with these inhuman shopkeepers, you will either find yourself withdrawing unnecessary amounts of cash from the ATM, or just flat-out making a fool of yourself.  It also helps to know what you want to buy and how much you intend to pay.  For instance, I wanted to buy a pair of basketball shoes because Ben bought a pair of Adidas for 70RMB (about $10).  I thought I could get a pair of baller-kicks for under 100RMB, so I went and sought my own adventure.  The following is a textual depiction of how I bought a pair of yellow and black Air Jordans from these Wicked Witches of the East.

(David is walking through the market when a 5′3″ woman grabs his arm and pinches his skin with her 3-inch faux nails)

Demon Seller:  Hello you look-ah for shoes?  We have very good quality shoe for very good quality price.  Come inside my shop.  (David walks inside the shop, clenching his arm)

DS:  Which one you like-ah?  All good quality.

Me:  I like those yellow ones.  Can I try them on?

DS:  Of course.  You look-ah Chinese.  You speak-uh Chinese?

Me:  No, I’m Filipino.

DS:  You look-uh like Chinese.  (David tries on the shoes and continues to b.s. with the seller.  He likes the shoes and they fit well.  The battle begins)

Me:  I like these.  How much are they?

DS:  Okay.  These shoes.  Very good quality.  The best-ah.  (She takes out a calculator) Original price is…(types 1,400 RMB).  But because you look-uh Chinese, I give you good price-uh (types 1,200RMB)

Okay, so at this moment I freak out in horror, and I make sure my face shows it.  My plan of buying a pair of shoes for under 100RMB is kaput.  But I stay true to myself.

Me:  Wow, I think that is too expensive.  I cannot afford that.

DS:  Okay, you give me your best price-uh.  (David types in 30RMB.  The Demon Seller looks at him blankly, then looks at the calculator, then back at David, and begins to laugh).  What, you pay in Euro???  That’s impossible price-uh for me.  I give you four numbers and you give me only two.  That price impossible.

Me:  Okay, 35 RMB.

DS:  (LOL) C’mon, impossible.  These shoe, best quality.  Make just like American shoes.

Me:  Um, I think the shoes are good quality, but not the best quality.  So I don’t think they are worth 1,200 RMB.  I think they are worth 35 RMB.

DS:  Hahahah, you are very joke-ah.  I don’t think you want these shoes.

Me:  No, no, no.  I do want the shoes.  But can you please make your price lower.

DS:  Okay, okay.  I give you this price-uh (types 1,150 on the calculator)

Me:  No way.  That’s just way too expensive.  I think you “joke-ah.”  I’ll give you 40 RMB.

DS:  Impossible.  I lose money.

Me:  Fine, 45 RMB.

DS:  I don’t think you want these shoes.

Me:  I do want these shoes, but your price is too expensive.  Nobody will buy these shoes for that much.  I’ll give you 50RMB.

DS:  Impossible.  You really joke-uh.

Me:  60 RMB.

DS:  (LOL and turns away).  I think you go somewhere else.

Okay, so at this point I feel like I’m losing this battle.  I’m thinking that I’m going to have to pay more than 100 RMB.  Maybe like 300 or 400 RMB.  I don’t want that to happen.  Even the nearby shopkeepers are listening to our conversation and hackling my outrageous efforts.  But I continue to dig through my guts.  It’s time for these tables to turn.

Me:  Okay, maybe I will go somewhere else.  But I know you don’t want me to.  Nobody is buying your shoes.  I am your only customer right now.  I know I can go somewhere else and buy these shoes cheaper.

DS:  Okay, you go-ah.

Me:  I don’t want to because I think you are pretty and I want to buy these shoes from you (I, unfortunately, actually said this).

DS:  Oh, you joke-ah.

Me:  I don’t.  I’ll give you 70 RMB.

DS:  Impossible.  My final price is 1,000.

Me:  80RMB.

DS:  C’mon, I lose money.

Me:  I lose money too if I pay that much.  These shoes are not worth 1,000RMB.  These shoes are worth 80 RMB.  You will lose money if I don’t buy these shoes from you, because nobody else will come here and buy these shoes.  You have many many many shoes in your store.  I don’t think people are buying shoes from you.  But I want to buy shoes from you.  Please make your price lower.

DS:  Okay.  You give your best maximum price-uh.

Me:  90RMB.

DS:  You joke-uh.

Me:  Okay, then I go.  Bye-bye.  (David stands up from the chair and proceeds to head out.  Demon Seller steps in front of him and puts her hand on his chest)

DS:  Okay, I give you 900.

Me:  Too expensive.  I am leaving now.

DS:  No no no.  You give me best maximum price.

Me;  Okay…my best price is 100RMB.

DS:  C’mon, I lose money.  800.

Me:  No, bye-bye.  (David successfully walks out the store this time.  He makes it a couple feet out and Demon Seller is not continuing to bargain, like he was told on the interent would happen if he walked away.  And just when his hopes were about to go away…)

DS:  Okay, I give you 700 RMB.

Me:  Nope.  100 RMB.

DS:  Okay, this is my final final price.  You take it or leave it okay?  (She types in 500 on the calculator)

Me:  No.  Too expensive.  I will go now.

DS:  C’mon.  Give me your best maximum price-uh.

Me:  Fine.  105RMB.

DS:  Oh you joke-uh.

Me.  Okay, then I leave.  (David walks away, this time he makes it to the stairwell.  Demons Seller yells from her store and runs after him).

DS:  Okay, 400!

Me:  No thank you.

DS:  200!

Me:  Too expensive.  Bye-bye.

DS:  Oh, you too difficult.

Me:  So are you.  Bye-bye.  (David walks away)

DS:  150!

Now, I probably should have taken this price.  But I noticed how quickly her prices went down when she got to the mid-hundreds, so I figured this should end with me paying my price.  So I continued to be “difficult.”  If I lost these shoes, so what.  I personally thought I already lost this battle just because I intended to pay way less than 100RMB.

Me:  No thank you.  (David walks through doors and is about to go down the stairs).

DS:  (In a very disgruntled and exhausted voice that also inferred defeat).  OKAY!  COME BACK!

Me:  105?

(DS nods reluctantly) DS:  You are very impossible, you know?

Me:  I know.  Thank you.

$15 Air Jordans (made and haggled for in China)

$15 Air Jordans (made, and haggled for, in China)