上海 Blog #12
Monday June 1st, 2015
Local Time: 22:59 Shanghai Time
Don’t worry, I plan to keep this one short because I am exhausted and something about the heat wave today has my allergies acting up.
I’ve really started getting into a rhythm now. I know it’s only been exactly a week since I arrived, stunned, in the heart of the PuDong district of Shanghai, but I’m really starting to feel like I’ve been living here for a while. Even ordering meals and communicating with people without really understanding most everything has become, well, normal.
After class and some yummy fried rice, we took a bus to the Volkswagen factory today. Our guide was totally on autopilot and spoken English (I’m being generous with this description) pretty much unintelligibly. However, we did get to ride in this cool little tram thing that took us through the warehouse designated to part creation all the way to vehicle assembly and painting. I must say, I was a wee disappointed nobody picked me to be a test driver, but then again I suppose I ask for too much.
Once we returned to Hua Dong Shi Da (our university), I took some downtime to nerd out by myself with some Numberphile videos on Grandi’s series and Zeno’s paradox. Should I probably have been studying Chinese so I can actually communicate with people where I currently reside – yes. But honestly, I’m just as much a numbers girl at heart and I don’t feel I’ve been getting my fix lately. So in sum (haha, get it?), if you (sorry, let me rephrase), eghhem…. WHEN you go abroad, don’t forget that while it is important to delve into the excitements of your foreign country, it’s also good to take much deserved breaks and indulge in all the guilty pleasures you enjoy at home (in my case: music, MSN news app, and geeky youtube videos).
Some of my fellow program American friends came knocking on my door seeking our daily dose of adventure, so we took a stop at what has become known as “the fake market.” Why you may ask? Well, it’s aptly named because everything there is a fake, from the Nike shoes to the Michael Kors purses to the Ray-Ban sunglasses to the Beats Headphones to the Rosetta Stone to the Windows 8. I must say though, walking around the market, they had me fooled.
So now, I leave you with this…. How to bargain at a market in China in five easy steps:
Step 1: Express a little but not too much interest in item of your choice.
Step 2: Allow the vendor to make a ridiculously high first offer price.
Step 3: Select a price that is between 7-30% of the initial offer, depending on the offer’s reasonableness (the vendor will make a scene and a whole lot of hullabaloo about how offensive your offer is… ignore it).
Step 4: Keep a price in your mind that is your absolute max. Attempt to haggle down to that price or below it without being put off by the shopkeeper’s dramatics. Remember to keep an air of non-interest.
Step 5: If shopkeeper refuses to give you your max price, leave the store. Nine times out of ten, they will give you your named price. The only person I haven’t seen it work for is Adam.
Using this method, I’ve seen people get some pretty good deals. I myself bought a pair of panda chopsticks for day for 15 RMB ($2-3). The lady started at 120 RMB. Just goes to show how much they try to screw you. Stick to your guns, don’t take the dramatics personally and it’s quite entertaining.