Saturday, January 8, 2011

Copied from Friday, December 3, 2010 Travel Blog

Tuesday - shopping in Beijing

Tuesday we enjoyed a relaxing morning in our hotel room.  Brad had to work all day and Jieying had to work in the morning, so she came to our room at 1:30 to pick us up.

We hadn't ventured out to eat on our own yet without Brad or Jieying being with us, so we grabbed a quick bite with Jieying and then went to a toy market which felt a little like Toys R Us – but without the prices and with a lot of people trying to get your attention so that you would buy what they were selling.  The girls each found something they liked – Laurel got a little frog that ribbits and has a light that comes on when you push a button.  Carissa got some neat pens that use invisible ink.  When you shine the light on the (on the other side of the pen) you can see what was written.  My big purchase was a small bottle of bubbles for the hotel room with Lyric.  (I wrapped the bubbles in two plastic bags while traveling later and the bottle ended up leaking so we never used them...)
In the background you can see the sign for the Pearl Market, to the right is the Toy Market.

After the toy market, we went in to the pearl market – there were definitely a lot of pearls to choose from!  The pearl market was actually the place the Tyler wanted to go – no, not for a pearl necklace :)  He just wanted a couple of single pearls – and he got them! Brad teased him that he would have to give them to his wife when he grows up. 
Tyler likes gems, minerals and rocks, which is why he wanted to go – he was thoroughly pleased with his purchase.
There are 2 different types of pearls – fresh water and river water pearls.  Fresh water costs a lot more than the river pearls – Ty got 2 river pearls.  The seller originally wanted 1500 rmb for them and we were able to get them for 350 rmb, which is about $55.00.  It was a big purchase, I know, but beside food there wasn't much else Tyler wanted to purchase as a keepsake memory.
Carissa didn’t want a pearl necklace so she got herself some pearl earrings instead.  Laurel didn’t find anything she really wanted in the pearl market.
After the pearl market we went to the silk market.  We sat at a little hot dog place and Kevin and Tyler each got a Chicago-style hot dog.  We didn’t think it was what we ordered b/c there weren’t any toppings on it.  When we asked, they showed us that the toppings were under the hot dog (wasn’t a lot of Chicago-style to the hot dog – but they still gobbled it up).
The girls each bought a fan in the silk market and we got one for Lyric.  We bought some traditional Chinese decorations – the type you put the candles in.  We were going to get some other ones but Jieying told us they were the type that are usually used only in restaurants – I’m glad she told us that! 
Oh, I found something for my dad also – he can probably guess what it is made out of (brass!).  The seller at the booth mixed up the words for copper and brass so he had me all confused b/c I thought it was brass but he called it copper.  I was going to get him a tall brass dragon but it was really light (hollow on the inside).  The seller kept trying to get me to buy a small light dragon, but I wanted the small, heavy dragon.  As we negotiated he kept holding up the more inexpensive one.  I forget now what I got if for, but I was happy with the purchase and the seller wasn’t too happy about it – he wanted to get more money out of me.  Oh – Laurel bought a gong from him as well, so he didn’t do too bad!
The Pizza Hut is REALLY fancy in Beijing!
The day ended with us meeting Brad at a really fancy restaurant - Pizza Hut!  The Beijing Pizza Hut isn't anything like the ones we have eaten at here in the states - I mean it when I say it was fancy!  They even had really fancy stuffed-crust!  We were ready for a good night's rest after dinner but then Brad casually mentioned that there was a Cold Stone Creamery just down the street - wahoo!  That is what we worked for on that Great Wall!  Ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream! 
 A quick note about bartering.  I enjoy it.  But it sure can wear you out!  By the end of the day, I think we collapsed into bed. (I walked funny all day.  My legs were in a lot of pain from that wall!)
Oh – I forgot about one other thing – the subway smash, where everyone crams into the subway during rush hour.  It was a tight fit and you really do have to push your way through to get off or to get on!  When we got off the subway Laurel said with a grin, “Can we do it again?”  She had fun (she was held by her father the whole time so no one would step on her).

Had to get the ice cream we were promised for "going the extra mile" on the Great Wall! 


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