Today we left the ship early and again walked into the city. It was certainly a good workout yesterday with all our walking but we see so much more than being in a car or bus.
We head toward the Bund, which is under construction for new
subways and the new buildings for Expo 2010. We got a lot of great photos here and it was lovely to see the European influence in architecture. The Chinese flag flies everywhere and people are obviously very proud of their city. We did speak with one gentleman who is concerned that the history of the country isn’t being taught to the children growing up. He feels the country has grown so much since the revolution and it’s being forgotten and history is not being remembered. Once again though there is no graffiti! North America can learn something from the lack of vandalism, perhaps people here are focused on accomplishing results instead of taking it easy?
Today we walked up many more side streets, ending up eventually on Nanjing, where we were shanghaied down an alley way, round the corner with some dubious characters along the way into a building with a little clothes store on the main floor, down a set of stairs into the basement, where the woman who led us did the secret knock; the door was opened a little to see who it was; once identification was confirmed we were ushered inside and the door closed. Inside was a woman’s dream – hundreds of leather Gucci, Prada, Guess etc purses on display. These obviously came off the back of a lorry as we’d say in Ireland. Gerrit hung nervously by the locked door with 7 women and me looking at him. He backed gently into the corner and put his eyes down. It was all up to me – I turned around the take stock of the horde of purses, watches and wallets. I lifted several bags and eventually took intense interest in a Prada purse. I asked if it was real leather and one woman took a lighter and pressed it against the purse – it didn’t melt.
I asked “how much”; 1200 Yang but for you 600 Yuan. I laughed and said “thanks but no thanks”. I walk toward the door and she says “OK for you, special price of 450 Yuan”. I put my hand on the door and said “thanks but no thanks”. “How much you want to pay” she asks and hands me a calculator. She enters 400 Yuan and I cancel that and put in 120 Yuan. She laughs and puts in 350 Yuan. I knew I’d get it for my price so I just smile and put in 120 Yuan in the calculator. She said “No No No that too little” and she cancels the calculator and puts in 325 Yuan. At that point I take the calculator and put in 100 Yuan in the calculator. She looks incredulous at me and says “What, why you put in 100 when you put 120 in before” I turned again and smiled and said “If you put in anything other than 120 Yuan I will go to 80 Yuan. She hesitates and looks at me with daggers – My hand goes to the door knob and she says “OK you get it for 120 Yuan but you steal it from me”. I didn’t reply to that – just smiled and turned to retrieve my wee man standing quietly by the door. He’d done his job and said nothing. We left with my Prada purse. $16 Canadian.
Later Gerrit found a great knife store selling all sorts of knives and cooking utensils. He viewed a lot of knives and eventually purchased a special 9 inch knife – cost $100 Canadian but we know it would cost 5 or 6 times that in Canada. The steel is the same type used of the Samurai swords, it’s folded and hammered repeatedly. Of course, when we got back to the ship – all the purchases are x-rayed and the knife was taken from us – we were given a receipt and told we’d get it back the night before we arrive in Vancouver. On the receipt it said it was “an offensive weapon” :-). Not even time to get a photo of it though 🙁
One of the things we have fallen in love with is the packaged snacks. these stores are everywhere, and we happily succumbed to temptation. Hopefully we can find these in the Pacific Mall area, once you get a taste you need more!
Eventually we got back to the cabin, get cleaned up, get a glass of wine and head up on deck for the sail away at 7pm. The journey down the Huangpu Jian River was truly amazing. We found a great little spot near the bridge to watch the ship move away from the dock and back down the River before we’re turned around and sail away. The ship reversed for almost a mile, then at a wide point rotated 180 degrees. Due to the length of the ship this effectively blocked most of the flow of the river for a short time. The amount of ship building along this river is amazing. We passed 3 ship yards, several refineries and many other enterprises. Thankfully we have 2 days at sea to recover from the 20+ kilometres of walking.