July 22, 09
Shanghai has been, for centuries, the center of commerce of China though another 2 big cities closer to Hong Kong – Guangzhou & Shen Zhen have become more and more threatening cities in replacing its importance and convenience. Nevertheless the remnants of the old buildings together with its cultural vapor could never be replaced by any other city in China.
Cheng Huang Miao – the old streets of Shanghai is still the busiest and most charming place for shopping. Just visiting is very fine as well for those old styled architecture. What it still amazes me after a few times there already is that you can find everything there, small souvenirs to nicest traditional silk dresses, Rolex to camera memory cards!
I spotted a very nice traditional man’s dress. Nice material with a style of good taste – dark brown silk tissue with dimely visible pattern on and cloth button. I glimpsed at the price: 488 RMB. I know that it is negotiable. I was told that one third or even less would be the real price. I didn’t negotiate. I just gave my price: 150 RMB. I hate negotiations back and forth for myself and I hate the fact that my clients asked me to pay for their notary fee after me having provided them with valuable information & service, which saved lots of their time & energy! She just lowered her price many times, but I stuck to my original one. I got it simple as I offered the first time.
Stephane, my travel accomplice, wanted to buy a Canon memory card. There was a corner as small as 4 square meters max selling memory cards. Canon, Panasonic, Sony, you name it! Do they have 32 G card, no, but 16 G, no problem! asking price 450 RMB! He got it at 250 RMB. Stephane thought it was cheap comparing to the price at Montreal $70. 6 times of 70 is 420 RMB. I would offer max 120 for that. But he is very nice.
The next day when he put it for use in Hang Zhou, he found that it is a complete crap. It was faked as 16G, but it has only 250 MB with the capacity of taking only 60 pictures and no video at all. If he had had taken a close look, he would have found out that there is no decent print no sticker whatsoever on the card!!! He laughed at himself saying: “oh, well, I have paid my stupidity tax!”
All along the streets, there are people chasing us for Rolex, Catier & Omega. There was one man who had been so diligent and patient that he had accompanied us far away one whole hour for lunch in order to lead us back to their stores selling Swiss watches. I just wanted to have a look at the places where fake Swiss watches are sold and got to know about the prices.
While following him into a lane, I was wondering where he was leading us! I stopped for a second asking him where on earth we were going. He said that we had arrived and that was the back door or a store. We entered the store which was full of all kinds of Swiss watches, big and small, for men and women! I wondered if there were any for kids, hehehe!
There were some really nice ones, 680, 800, 1,000, 1,200 and up to 2,000! I wowed to myself how expensive they were, especially for a person like me who never could wear any watches and who never had known the values of watches! Nah, I said, I will continue looking to find the real prices! So off we went away and on the street again!
It seemed that people knew we were interested in watches after we came out from that place and they just followed us asking us the same question again and again like beggars who would never give up!
It was in Beijing that I found out the real prices of the decent real Swiss watches: 2,000 to 400,000 RMB! I guess I would never wear any of those in my life, not much because of the unaffordability but mostly of the fact that I could never keep them on my wrist and the unafordability of a watch wouldn’t tick longer my life as I should die when the day is due( wisper: they are truely too expensive for me as well though)!