Shopping in Beijing

9/15

The last couple of days have been busy for me.  Most of Thursday was spent doing homework and studying for my test in Chinese. You see, in our Chinese class, we have a test every other week on what we have learned thus far. The written portion of the test, although difficult if you don’t study, wasn’t too bad. However, the speaking portion is a different story. Although the questions were not hard to answer, the test itself was extremely intimidating. First, I was in a small room with only the teacher and a recorder. Second, my teacher asked me to correct my mistakes while I was speaking. Problem, I didn’t realize I was making mistakes and thus going back and trying to correct them was difficult.  Overall, I felt as if I did pretty well. I know the speaking portion will bring my grade down but it can only get better from here, right?

After the test on Friday my roommates and I all went out for a quick lunch before coming back to the room to do homework. I know it sounds pretty terrible to be doing homework on a Friday afternoon/night but we knew that we wanted to spend the weekend having fun and figured it was better to get it done while we didn’t have any plans. So, Friday was not that exciting.

Saturday; however, was a lot of fun. My roommates and I left early in the morning and spent all day shopping our way around Beijing. We hit up the major shopping mall first but that was merely for window shopping purposes. One thing I did learn though is that the Chinese are obsessed with cats. Every store we went into had at least two or three cat shirts and there were probably two stores dedicated strictly to cats on every floor. The malls here are set up a little differently than they are back home. First, there are no major stores. Each designer has their own little cubby hole in which to sell their clothes. This means, you can walk down a single aisle in the mall and see twenty different designers. The cubby holes, as I call them, are basically just sections of a giant wall slightly separated by smaller half walls. This way, you don’t actually have to walk into a store to see everything they carry.

After the major mall, we decided it was time to go to lunch. So where did we go? Well of course we went to the most logical of places to go to eat while in China: Hooters! Boy was it delicious. I did not know how much I missed American food until I took my first bite of the giant hamburger I ordered. Add curly fries to that and I was in heaven. I swear a hamburger has never tasted so good.

So, with our bellies full, we headed off to our next shopping location. It was called the Yashow Clothing Market. An old boss/friend had told me to go to this place to do my shopping as it was where you would get the best deals. She was right. It was a giant market place with five floors filled with clothing, shoes, jewelry, electronics, makeup and souvenirs. Although most of the shop keepers spoke English, we tried our hardest to speak only Chinese. I have to say, I feel as though I did pretty well both with speaking and bartering. At the end of the day, I spent the equivalent of about forty U.S. dollars and I came away with two very cute dresses, a pair of Toms (shoes for those of you who don’t know), slippers and some other gifts which I cannot tell you for they are Christmas gifts and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone. My roommate was the winner of the day though. She was able to barter her way to a North Face jacket for the equivalent of about $20. All in all, everyone did very well.

After eight hours of shopping (for those of you who don’t know this, that is a lot of shopping for me as my usually cut off is about an hour and a half), we all headed home to get ready for our evening. We had planned to go out to dinner and then go to karaoke with some friends but when those plans fell through, we decided to just go out and half some fun. We went to a restaurant and had some chicken quesadillas and spent the rest of our night just exploring the nightlife of Beijing.

Today, Sunday, we are all just finishing up our homework left undone from Friday. We have plans to go out to dinner later this evening but we will not be out too late as I have Kung Fu in the morning. As for the rest of the day, who knows what is in store.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

P.S. If you are afraid of bugs, do not, I repeat do not come to China. There are the strangest and scariest bugs here. Not only are the spiders on steroids, there are mosquitoes that have learned to bite in such a way that the bite swells and is itchy for days, there are cockroaches under every piece of furniture and there are ants that will attack at the first sign of a human.  There are also these creepy bugs that scuttle around floors and sidewalks that look a lot like giant brown potato bugs with huge antennas.  I do not know if they bite or if they are dangerous at all but they are just creepy enough that I take great pains in avoiding them.

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