Monday, February 1, 2016

Asia Blog # 8

January 26, 2016

We decided to venture out - again on our own to see what we could see.

A taxi took us to an underground market specializing in knock-offs. It's always fun to look around these places. Sometimes we can find a bargain.

There was one stall that was selling purses - all knock-offs. However, the back wall covered with purses was actually a door. The door opened into sort of an anti-chamber with shelves loaded with what might have been the real thing. The smell and touch of leather suggested that we were looking at purses that "may have fallen off the truck" on their way to Rodeo Drive or the Champ de Elysees.

The market is actually below the Science and Technology Museum - a beautifully designed building.

It's freezing! Temperature is in "the teens."

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Jerry likes to buy knock-off watches. There was one store with several chests of drawers. The store keeper pulled out a nice looking watch. The price started at $300. As Jerry scoffed at the price, the watch dropped to $95. Jerry turned and as he walked away, the price dropped to $50. At the last moment, the store keeper called out, "What do you want to pay?"

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Always adventurous, for the first time we took the Shanghai Metro. Nanjing Street would be our destination. 

The Metro train was very long - maybe 30 to 40 cars? There are so many people in China cities traveling to and fro that the Metro needs this many cars. (The same situation goes for China's airplanes. Most of the flights are packed. During our last trip to China, we took a one hour commuter flight - packed with travelers - in a Jumbo 747!) The Metro inside and out is very clean. 

Metro announcements were made both in Chinese and English. Metro maps and ticket machines were easy to use.

Metro ticket is used to exit the station

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"Nanjing Street" is a multi-mile pedestrian street/zone with hundreds of stores, restaurants and a fun place to watch the locals.

Nanjing Street

Lots of shopping going on. Notice that the store's employees (red jackets) are wearing heavy-duty (warm) jackets. There is no air conditioning in the summer and no heating in the winter!

Normally, we would spend an hour or so walking around. However, it snowed the day before. The temperature, when we ventured out from a store, was in the low 20's with chill factor of low teens or even single digits. It was blustery and nasty even though the sun was out.

A quick, stepping outside to take a picture

Nanjing crowds are the norm

Shop until you drop!

Trying to make an extra buck

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While on the Metro, there was one (very) unique situation. Advertisements were projected on the tunnel wall as the train sped by. The ads remained in place for about 15 seconds at a time. Was a camera projecting advertising images on the tunnel wall or was a projection system projecting images outward toward the train's passengers?

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We have been experiencing a variety of technical issues with our devices, our service providers combined with the fact that we were restricted by the Chinese government. Arlene had some i-pad issues so we spent an hour in the Apple store getting help.

Getting help at the Apple Store

Apple stores are "universal." There is no difference between a China store and a USA store. The look, the feel and the manner in which customers are process could have just as easily been in Santa Monica.

There was one (unexpected) situation which tells a lot about China's censorship. Putting aside the fact that Google is not allowed, Yahoo is limited in what it can do as is the Chinese internet version, there is also  no "social media" as we know it i.e. Facebook, etc. While discussing this aspect of China, the Apple employee (nervous and sort of looking over his shoulder) implied that "there are ways" to communicate with the outside world. He also seemed to feel uneasy when he was talking to us. Maybe someone was overhearing us?

Considering the fact that the  quantity of Chinese travelers to Western countries is significantly increasing each year, there are (probably) tens of thousands of Chinese students studying in western/democratic countries and many people have access to western TV feeds. It will only be a matter of time...

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We were hungry. There is a food court at the Nanjing metro station. One of the restaurants had a buffet made up of types of food that were not familiar to us!

With the limited amount of meandering around, we had an unexpected set of fun situations. Teenage or college age kids would come up to us and say, "Hello!"

One girl (in particular) had a bubbling personality. She was majoring in English. Her name was something like "Jing-Jing." We happened to run into her again about an a hour later in a food court. "Jing-Jing" helped us order some food - some of which was quite foreign to us.

We gave her a PMI frisbee

It turns out that the spelling of her name is actually Jin Xue. She goes by the nickname, "Rocketeer." 

Jerry's contact information was requested so that she could communicate with us. These are unique and very special experiences that would not occur if were on a tour.

Following is what she wrote when we asked about her name"

Jin in Chinese means gold.  Because I was second baby in my family, at those time,my parents paid for me a lot when given birth to me, so my parents hope me have a good fortune in the future. 
Xue in Chinese means snow. My parents want me have a pure life same like white snow. Haha 
As for rocketeer, it was the name of my favorite song. 

I will play the frisbee on green grass ground with friends, haha. I'm sure it'll be much fun. Practice makes perfect!

Good luck to you !

We ended up with this concoction. It was delish!

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1 comment:

  1. This whole trip has been fantastic to share with you. I feel as if I was along for the ride,