Sunday, May 30, 2010

Learning to bargain (and getting ripped off!) & Wangfujing

Yesterday since I was feeling better and it was a beautiful day, blue skies, and great air, we decided to take a walk around our neighborhood. We are discovering that our neighborhood is pretty awesome & close to a lot of really great restaurants and other cool spots. We made our way over to Xiushui Market to do some browsing.

In China, you are supposed to haggle to get the best price. We know this. But, we aren't used to doing it. I feel cheap doing it.... LOL. Its sort of awkward... but I know if you don't, you'll get ripped off (which we did). We bought a 100% silk table runner. Its pretty, I didn't fall in love with it or anything but part of the fun here is using our Chinese, and bargaining with the shop owners in Chinese is pretty awesome, so we ended up buying this table runner, and a scarf, just for the heck of it, not because we particularly wanted them or anything. LOL! The table runner we were totally ripped off on.... she started at an amazingly high absurd price, so when we brought her down 70% we felt like we had done an amazing job of bargaining... unfortunately she does this for a living and knows we'd feel like we did a good job, so, we still overpaid by about $15... hahah! Its all part of the learning experience.

This is the table runner we were ripped off on.. its 100% silk, navy, with embroidered flowers.

And this scarf I actually haggled quite well, paid less than $5 for a 100% silk scarf. It has a really pretty pattern on it, but you can't really see it in these pictures.

And here I am with the two girls who sold me the scarf... we exchanged contact information for the future.

And how gorgeous is this painting? We love it.

After the market, we decided to take the subway to Wangfujing. When we were studying Chinese in the U.S., they always used Wangfujing Da Jie and Wangfujing Shudian (bookstore) in our dialogues, so we got a kick out of seeing it in person & sent pictures to our teachers back in the U.S. Its an extremely modern area.

The hubby "reading" a book (upside down) in the bookstore... sending it to his teachers for a laugh.

We bought a few movies in the bookstore... they were only $4 (US). I know intellectual property rights is a big deal, and that is why we bought these DVDs from a 100% legit store.

Wangfujing is the street where everyone goes to eat the weird foods... contrary to popular belief, I've only seen this sort of food sold on this street, I have yet to run into seahorse, or starfish, or scorpions in a grocery store...

We did not eat any of that interesting food, btw! After Wangfujing, we took the subway back home - stopped at a shop for some fresh flowers, made a stop at Beard Papas for some delicious fresh cream puffs.. and that was our day!

And the gorgeous view from our apartment!

Tonight we are going out with our new Chinese friend again - to the park where the Olympics were held - he says its beautiful at night, all lit up! pics to come.



  1. Wow your apartment is in a sick place! Bargining was one of favorite things to do there. When we came home and ever seemed like such a set price and it wasn't fair lol! Was that place you were at the one across from the zoo?

  2. Amber, this one wasn't across from the zoo, but these places are all over the place! I really want to go to the silk markets soon and buy some fabric to have a few things made, its so cheap.

    We'll get better at bargaining. Sometimes it just feels like I am being so cheap.. lol... like this one guy wanted to give us a ride on this rickshaw thingie, to the subway station, for 10 RMB which is about $1.50... and so we feel super cheap saying "no way! too expensive!" even though for HERE it IS expensive because we could take a taxi and go even farther for that price.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  3. Oh my, Beard Papas! We have one here too! I love them.

  4. wow I love that painting! and the others photos, too ;) it seems like you have a great life :)

  5. that painting is great!
    I feel weird to, when i have to bargain =D
    In italy its pretty common too, Ill let my hubby do it...but my mom is the best at it =D
    omg starfish on a stick......yuck!

  6. I love that you're enjoying your adventure ! And sharing it with us :)))) It makes me want to travel so bad.... well for now it's only going to be a Paris-Montreal flight to see my fiancé next week. Can't wait to start seeing the world again !!

  7. Oh I am loving your blog! You have the coolest life! That's funny about the table runners and scarf, I think you still got a good deal!

  8. Wooow! Everything must be such an adventure! I would be in silk-scarf-heaven at that place! So many beautiful ones! I think you did an amazing job at getting the price 70% off! lol :)

    I LOVE the painting!!! ♥
    Love hearing about how things are going for you in China! :)

  9. Great table runner--sounds like you are having an amazing time---I think I'd pass on the starfish too. :-)

  10. I am really enjoying reading your posts, Steph!:D Thanks for the pictures, feels like I'm in China too!:D

    That's a lovely blue runner, btw.:D
    ...and everything girly under the sun!

  11. Thanks for commenting guys!! I'm having a good time here! just miss my dog.. hah. :)

  12. Sounds like you're having a wonderful time! I love the painting too - it's gorgeous. I don't think I could get used to bargaining - I'd just feel cheap!

  13. That's so cool that you went to wangfujin!! I'm so jealous! I totally know what you're talking about with the haggling. I think it's awkward too, but I'm sure you'll get used to it. It's cool that you got those American movies in Chinese! I wish I could find some over here!

  14. beause of China my DH now wants to bargain in every foreign country! Doesn't work so well in the touristy area of Cancun though. haha

  15. April, that is so funny! LOL.

    Lucy - if you want anything special, I can look for it and mail it to you if you want. Let me know.

  16. Love your posts Steph! I know how you feel about bargaining, I would feel the same way. I'm like ok, I'll pay whatever you're asking, LOL.

    That paining is gorgeous and the photo of your Hub reading upside down is hilarious.

  17. your pictures are amazing.
    youre such a doll.<3

  18. Oh you did score some great things! I couldn't imagine having to haggle. I'd be so lost & so taken advantage of :)

  19. Glad to hear you're feeling better! You'll improve on the bargaining once you get tired of overpaying :) Gorgeous view from your apartment!

  20. Looks like you're having fun! I saw that movie Chloe awhile back and it was so good!

  21. oh my gosh... interesting doesn't explain that food enough! eek! It looks like you are having a good time! We would always have to barter in South America too. I found it quite entertaining. I love your new scarf.


  22. i'm sure you'll be really good at haggling in no time and won't be ripped off anymore. :)

    those dvds are soooo interesting! this may be a random question, but i'm really curious, are those movies in english or did they dub it in chinese?

  23. Mimi, all of them have english & some of them have it dubbed over in Chinese as well, on those you can just choose what language you want.

    Megan - I really liked chloe too! It was interesting. She should have got a little bit crazier though, lol.

  24. I am awful at haggling, I lack the confidence, and even once tried 'the walk-away' but I really wanted the shoes, so I 'walked away' to the ATM and came back with enough money to buy them at the asking price.

    But the scarf seems like a good deal for sure!

    and I can't imagine eating a starfish or a seahorse!

    Chic on the Cheap

  25. really wonderful!!
    loving your blog, keep it up!
    and thanks for your sweet comment, means the world!


  26. I almost just felt like I walked around with you for a day :) great post and thanks for sharing! Btw, I'm glad you didn't have any starfish!!

    xox Vicky
    Bikinis & Passports

  27. Your pictures are so awesome. Reading about your adventures really makes me want to move somewhere exciting next year. I love the story about the cute old man who smiles at you!