Today we gathered our Chinese volunteers and headed out of the campus to make our way through the city on our own for the first time. Marcus, Melina, Elizabeth, our 2 Chinese volunteers, and myself headed first to the Pearl Market. The Pearl Market is a 4-story mall with vendors selling knockoff goods. Haggling was the name of the game! The goods are marked at prices well over 4 times the amount of their worth so the game has become to divide and conquer, seeing who can get the best price. I would say I did pretty well! The aggression these sales people have is without compare, if you walk away from a price and they aren’t ready for you to walk away, they have no problem grabbing and putting a death grip on your arm. I very quickly got the “DON’T DARE TOUCH ME” look, I was not okay with them grabbing at me! I tried to purchase a knockoff Ipad, but they looked and felt like junk, it wasn’t even worth the haggle to even say I bought one. I was really sad, I had heard they were pretty good before I came but there is still time, maybe ill find one! Have no fear though there are floors and floors of stuff to purchase!
We left and went to Wangfujing. Wangfujing is like the 5th avenue of Beijing they have all the most expensive and popular stores, but they also have the most disgusting bizarre food market right in the center of the street! The smells that are produced within the confides of the bizarre food market are unlike anything every smelt before. You leave and feel as if your nose has just been assaulted, I felt dirty for hours after! They sell everything from scorpion on a stick, starfish, sea horse, baby duckling, squid, to things that don’t resemble anything but smell worse than the sewer system basking in the hot sun. It was quite an adventure… glad I did it… don’t plan on doing it again! What was a shocking to me, was that the Chinese people do not eat these foods, so I have become very curious as to how this market even stays in business. On a more happy note, the first McDonald’s in China is located on Wangfujing as well, on opening day of business, a couple got married inside the restaurant because they thought an American Restaurant was classy!