My mom is both the most awesome and the worst parent of all time. I don't think she's ever taught me any life lessons or had any talks with me to make sure I didn't turn out to be some drug addict or gangster. She should be thankful. But if there is one life skill that she did teach me correctly and place immense emphasis on, was that I should never pay full price for something... especially in China. It's more like 50% and then take off some. Thanks Mom. Welcome to touristy and local attraction 秀水街 aka Silk Street/Silk Market. Turns out Silk Market doesn't only sell silk. Who would have known? It used to be an outdoor market before the Government closed it down and forced all the vendors to move into a 7 story shopping center. With almost 2,000 stores, this is definitely the place to come shop. This place also has a crap load of fake stuff. It's constantly sued by brand name companies. I went with a fellow Cantonese classmate. Thank goodness people in Beijing can't understand Cantonese. We were able to figure out how much to set the price without them knowing. Once you speak even a bit of English, the staff pulls you into their store and starts speaking ridiculously incorrect English to you. There was some Chinese person that told a little American girl that her parents must not love her very much if they weren't willing to buy her that bag she wanted. She also told her to leave her family. The good thing about this place is with as much as they try to rip you off, these "business people" are still very superstitious. If you go in the early morning and they haven't sold anything yet, they'll be willing to give you a very good price for things since they believe that you have to start your day out on the right foot. So if they sell something in the morning, that means the rest of the day will be filled with lots of business. My classmate is a Yale student so she wanted to buy a very thick coat. This lady was ridiculous and said $1,800. uh yeah right. They start out higher if you are speaking English. WIth my amazing bargaining skills, she ended up buying it for $180. Lady was pissed too. I'm sure she wouldn't have sold it if we weren't her first customers for they day. I only bought a small Harajuku bag for school and some Chinese earrings. It was awesome though!
And then came my worst nightmare. Silk Market is about an hour away from our campus, which meant that we needed to use the public bathroom. Oh my was that an experience. I'm going to have nightmares for years. There were 2 sides and lines for the bathrooms. One line was the squatters and the other line was the "express line." I was curious to see what they meant by express line. Turns out that means you can't go #2. Express line means that you are peeing in a sewer like thing. As you spread your legs, all you see is a line of other people's pee travel under you. Wow... I wanted to take a picture but I didn't want to risk dropping my camera. Plus, I don't think that's an image I want to remember. EVER.
秀水街 is definitely worth visiting if you are going to be in Beijing. I think I just didn't want to spend money so I didn't buy as much stuff as my friend did. It's like a one stop shop place to get everything you want. This was way more fun than the Great Wall. The bathrooms... not so much though.