Hello all! This has been SUCH a busy few days, so sorry I’ve left you in the dark! I’ve got so much to tell you about my last weekend in Beijing.
Wait. I’M COMING HOME THIS WEEK!!!!!! 😀 Yes, I am very ready to come home. This has been a wonderful experience and I am SO GLAD I came, but I am awfully homesick and ready to be back in North Carolina. Being gone for just this short period of time has made me very appreciative of what we have in the United States and realize how lucky I am to live there.
So, my weekend… chronologically:
Friday I made the ULTIMATE bargain at the Pearl Market. We have been getting better at our bargaining skills as we experience individually and learn from each other, and I was on a mission Friday to not pay more than I had to. I bought three of something (don’t want to give away my gift purchases yet) for ¥85, and Tiffany got to the market on Friday and bought THREE of the SAME THING for ¥30. What the hell? So, I decided to practice by going after something I didn’t REALLY want, and go as low as possible and simply walk away if they didn’t agree with me. Before, I had paid ¥60 for a cheaply made scarf. My first bargain of the evening, I bought 2 very nice pashminas for ¥50. With this new success, I went on to buy some t-shirts for cheap before finding my way to a souvenir booth to look at some scrolls that caught my eye. This is where the epic-ness happened. There were several scrolls with Chinese pictures on them hanging on the wall, and I decided that it would be a good gift for the 7th graders I student taught back home (Chris, don’t tell them this yet if you’re reading :P). The woman saw me eyeing them, and in true Chinese-market-fashion came over to make the sale. She said she would ‘give me good price’ and typed ¥1200 into the calculator… O_O wut? I laughed and said, ‘never mind, I’ll look at something else’ because that is equivalent to $200, and I’m just not prepared to spend that on anything right now. She assured me it was real silk, and to put my price into the calculator. I have been very nervous about low-balling the vendors, but I wanted this woman to leave me alone because I saw immediately that her and I were never going to agree on a price, so why waste my time? I put ¥30. She freaked out, called me crazy, threw down the calculator, and walked away to talk to her friend about me. I laughed and continued looking at smaller, cheaper scrolls or for something else that my 7th graders may like. A few minutes later, she came back and said, ‘no joking no joking, tell me best price,’ and, following the example of my successful colleagues, put ¥30 into the calculator again. This negotiation went on for about 20 minutes. I kept telling the woman I didn’t to spend more than ¥30 on this gift, which was low primarily because I wanted her to leave me alone, and to show me something else that I COULD get for that amount, but she just kept coming back to the scroll. I guess she saw how much I liked it and knew it was likely going to be her only sale to me. After a few more throwings of the calculator and even taking off her jacket and throwing it down a couple of times, she came down to ¥40. At this point we were both desperately red in the face and emotionally invested in this sale. I looked at Tiffany, who had been shaking her head telling me ‘don’t do it’ for most of the sale, as she nodded to said, ‘that’s a pretty good deal.’ The woman threw her calculator down one more time and said, ‘last price’ …so I opened my wallet and handed her ¥40. I have no idea why she went from ¥1200 to ¥40, which converts to $200 to $6.60, but she went there, and I took it. After I had the scroll in my hand I had to walk away to completely process what had just happened. It was epic. Literally. Epic. I paid 3% of her asking price. My friends here have been really interested in the event of the sale and very impressed with my skill, but I think most of it was luck. There are vendors that will shoo you away if you low-ball them like that, Holly even got slapped the other day bargaining with this woman (not hard, but regardless). I wonder if the woman was desperate to meet a daily quota and simply needed to make SOME sale, no matter what it was. Whatever the reason, I had a wonderful time. I think I got a high from the excitement of it all, it was SUCH a rush! And I’m definitely looking forward to bargaining tomorrow and Wednesday for the remainder of my gifts 🙂 hope to have room for them all!
On Saturday and Sunday Dave and I visited the Great Wall again. I realize now that I haven’t even posted pictures from our first adventure to the wall, so I think I’ll save that for another post altogether. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have some time to load pictures. It was wonderful, I can assure you that.
And today, Monday, I visited a school called the Western Academy of Beijing. It’s an international school and VERY different from BRS. Actually, it’s different from any school I’ve seen before. That should also be a post of its on, as it is long past my bedtime… IOU! 🙂 I’ll do an update before I go anywhere in the morning! Goodnight, all!