Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shanghai Shopping Experience

After a year of working at PAL, I finally got hold of the best benefit we PAL employees have: the TRIP PASS. After one year of working for the company, I'm only allowed a regional/domestic trip pass (not least not yet. After my 2nd year i'll be eligible for that Ü), so what better place to spend it in than in Shanghai, where my older brother, Walter, has been living for more than a decade now (meaning: free board & lodging!).

I went there with my Mom, Dad and little bro (Kyle) and we just basically shopped 'til we dropped. Since my dad would rather spend money on shopping rather than sightseeing, then that was exactly what we did. We just shopped. For the entire week that we were there. We shopped and ate. And of course we slept as well. I'm not complaining or anything, but it would've been nice to see some of the sights Shanghai has to offer. Good thing Walter brought us to see The Bund and The Pearl Tower on our first night there. So that was the closest thing we got to sightseeing in Shanghai: The Bund and The Pearl Tower. Oh, and there was this Sundial in one of the rotondas there. Very nicely done. Walter says it actually says the time during the day, although I didn't catch it (or I just didn't know how to read/interpret). We also got to see Century Luneta multiplied by a hundred times (HAHA!). You may scroll on the pictures below to appreciate better all these things i'm talking about.

So...since we basically shopped, what more can I share to you but our shopping experience there. Everyone who goes to Shanghai would've heard of the XiangYang Shopping Market. From what i've heard, the original XiangYang market got closed down due to rampant sale of everything imitation: LV, Chloe, D&G, Lacoste, Juicy, Omega, name it, they have it. And mind you guys, their imitations are of very good quality if you know how to look. So the original (market) got closed down but a gazillion other little XiangYang shopping markets opened in different parts of Shanghai. You just have to know where to look. Thus, we were mainly at a different venue of XiangYang market everyday. But the items sold are basically the same. Like Divi Mall, Tutuban and 168 Mall: three different venues but the items that you can find inside are practically the same.

Shopping in Shanghai was a bit of a breeze for us. Probably coz my dad and bro know how to speak a bit of Mandarin (FYI: Fookien, which is a different dialect from Mandarin, is more widely-used here in the Philippines). And may be also due to the fact that some Shanghainese understand English and some even know how to speak. So it won't be a struggle to ask them how much an item costs while shopping, because, when all else fails, these vendors instinctively grab their calculator and punch down the cost of the item you're asking for (most of the time this is what happens anyway).

Almost always, when you motion that you find the item expensive, they'll let you punch in the amount that you want to pay them, after which starts the "bargaining struggle" where the vendor lowers his/her price, and you don't give in, until you reach an agreement and pay for the item at the agreed price.

One tip though: these vendors ALWAYS give you an initial price that is SKY HIGH! And I mean super sky high! Such that a RMB400 item can be bought, after much bargaining, at RMB80. That's a 500% decrease in original price! Gheezh! Talk about taking advantage! Anyway, we found that our bargaining skills improved as the days passed by, such that at the end of our one week trip, we were already bargaining experts (or at least i'd like to believe so).

To sum it all up...Shanghai is a very nice city to visit such that my mom and dad are contemplating on staying there for good (HUWAT!?!?!??!!! And how am I supposed to converse with these Shanghainese people when I don't know how to speak Chinese??!????!!!). I know i've just written mostly about shopping, but I promise to write another blog about Shanghai to tell you more about the other stuff we went to and did. But for now, let me just leave you with some fun facts that I've gathered during my one week stay in Shanghai.

Current exchange rate to Peso is 6.3 (i.e. 1RMB=P6.30)
RMB (Renminbi) and YUAN are the same.
They have toilets bowls on the floor...Literally! As in you have to squat.
Mandarin is the main language spoken in Shanghai.
Some of the few words I learned while at Shanghai are:
she-she = thank you
me-yo = wala
hen-to = marami
hao-chu = delicious
hen-hao = very good
pu-hao = bad
huan-yi kwang-ling = I actually don't know what this directly translates to...but they say this when someone enters the restaurant.
san-su-chi = 37 (since i'm a size 7, this was especially helpful when telling them what size of shoe I need during shopping Ü)
san-su-pa = 38 (just in case size 7 does not fit Ü)
ti-ti = younger brother (i know what you're thinking Ü...don't be bastos...Ü)
mei-mei = younger sister
ko-ko = older brother
che-che = older sister
e = 1
er = 2
san = 3
si = 4
wu = 5
liou = 6
chi = 7
pa = 8
chou = 9
su = 10

e-pai = 100

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