Tuesday, November 11, 2008

10-24-08 – Free Day, Silk Market, Mall

This morning I awoke to watch the sunrise outside the hotel room window. It was lovely to see, the smog has cleared so much due to the rain the other night, so the sky was brilliant in blues, grays, and oranges. We had opened the window before we went to bed, so the room was comfortable, and not so warm, it was a really nice way to wake up.

We decided to bum it for breakfast and just threw on a jacket and flip-flops and headed to the dining room. We ate a lovely breakfast and had a really wonderful conversation with Dr. Wally and a few other students about everything from general Averett/MBA program concerns to study group issues, to our thoughts on this trip to our thoughts on life in general. It was stimulating to have such intelligent conversation especially regarding our experiences here in China.

We came back to the room to shower and get ready for our adventures. We started out by walking to the mall, which was across from the Silk Market. This was unlike any mall that we have ever seen. There were only a few stores, and one whole floor was a department store, but unlike any department store that I have ever been to and all the clothes are laid out boutique style, no selection of sizes or anything. No one spoke English so I was not able to ask anyone about anything.

We then headed across the street to the Silk Market, where we spent about 4 hours bargaining and walking around and bargaining some more. We met a really nice jewelry vendor, who showed us about the quality of her pearls and jade and also how to tell the difference. It boils down to various levels of quality, like you can get diamonds from Penny’s and you can get diamonds from Finks, while they are both still real diamonds, you pay more for quality and for a recognized brand. She was really sweet and while we still bargained her down quite a bit on the price, we feel like we got a really great deal from her. We ended up going back to her booth a few times to get more stuff. I had her make a jade and pearl necklace and earrings for me to commemorate the feel of the whole trip.

We stopped at this little French place on the way back to the hotel and split a sandwich and a croissant. We were tired and headed back to the hotel after that where we spread out all our purchases and made lists to make sure we had gotten all the gifts that we wanted to get and, of course, we both found that we had forgotten to get a few things for some people on our lists. We decided to just chill out at the hotel the rest of the day as we really had shopped until we dropped and maybe try to go back and get those few things tomorrow night after the last tour day.
Ann was feeling a little sick to her stomach so she decided to take a nap and I watched a little TV.

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