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Dre J.’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 26 Sep 2009

Location: Beijing, China

MapSo I got the worst score in my class on my test but that was an 84. Take it. My teacher told me I didn't do so well and that I was the worst in the class. I asked what I got, she said 84. I said awesome, i'll take an 84 any day of the week. Still a mid B. Also, we went to the Silk Market today. That place was f--king insane!! They all spoke perfect English, Spanish, Russian, and even some German. f--king insane. Why do I know all this, cuz Colin and I tried to talk to the women in different languages so that they would leave us alone...yea didn't work so well. I tried Spanish, they knew it. I tried Russian, they new it. They didn't know Albanian but they still bugged me. Colin tried German and they knew that. This place was a gold mine though. Think of something you would ever want or need and it's probably there. Colin and I got a good amount of things. I got myself 4 dress shirts and a tie for my new job. I also got two new t-shirts to replace the four that got ruined. I got all that for around 30-40 bucks. Oh and I also got a "Little Red Book" as its called in China. Its a little red book full of Mao Zedong quotations. It was mandatory for any Communist Party Member or Military personal to have and know this book during the later part of Mao's reign. I've wanted one real bad so I finally got one...super pumped. But yea I look damn good in my new work shirts, they fit great, better than any I ever got in the States. Speaking of the States, I went to my job today to set up my schedule and learn about what I will be doing. I only have one student for now which I will meet on Tuesday night for my first session. Should be interesting, still not quite sure how things are suppose to go down but i'm sure i'll figure it out. They only gave me one person for a few reasons. 1, cuz i'm leaving next Friday for nine days. 2, cuz some of the students who need teachers are beginners and I don't speak enough Chinese to communicate.
Anyways back to the Silk Market. Again, this place is insane. Colin got beat up, not really, but he came outta the whole experience with a nice scratch on his stomach and got kicked by a women at one point. These workers are experts at ripping off tourists. They mark things up 200, 300, even 400%. For instant, take one of the shirts I bought. I asked what the price was, they told me 1250 yuan. That's $183. Then they will smooze you by saying, "but for you I will give special price of 500 yuan." I then said no, too expensive. They would ask me what I wanted to pay. I said 40 yuan. Then they will put on a show and act like that was impossible and that you are robbing them and that they can't make any profit on it, blah blah blah. It's all for show. If you know what your doing, like Colin and I, then we just play back, and act like we are leaving and that its too much. So two minutes of this back and forth, I got the shirt for 50 yuan, originally 1250 yuan. But ya, they mark things up crazy redunk. Colin and I normally start at 10-15% of what they ask for. My two t-shirts I got for 60 yuan, marked 490 yuan for one. Right. We went into one store, full of real cashmere stuff, and there was this women from New Zealand getting raped (not literally, figuratively) She was trying to buy two scarfs or something, and the women working was starting at like 1500 yuan. When I walked by I was listening as the NewZ women was trying to haggle and was saying she wanted the two things for 600 yuan. The worker was playing the little game I told you about and it seemed like the NewZ women was giving in so I walked up to her and told her not to do it, and that she could get it for way way way less. The women in the store did not like this, they started yelling at me to get out, and then Colin tried talking to the women while he was buying something. Then they literally pushed him out of the store and told us to leave, lol, it was soo funny. We ended up pumping into the NewZ women outside the market a lil whiles later. She said she bought them for like 500 something. So Colin and I talked to her for a while and gave her the in's and out's of how to haggle, and how if it were us we would have gotten the same things she did for no more than 150 yuan. We told her to start at 10% of what they initially ask for. She was very grateful. She told us that her travel company told her to start at 40-50%. We said that she was getting robbed and she just needs to be stern and play their game right back. Very interesting stuff. I wish I had more money cuz I would go back there in a heartbeat. I could get a suit for 100-200 yuan, thats $20-30. If I wanted it tailored prolly another 100 yuan, so $20 bucks at the most. But if any of you want real pearls or silks or clothes or whatever just let me know and send me some money. Maybe add a lil tip for all my efforts. But seriously, name the brand, or whatever and I could find it for dirt cheap. Well I'll leave this at that, its already pretty long and there is sooo much more I could talk about just on this place alone. I'll try to take some video footage next time I go so you can see how viscous these workers are. It's very interesting stuff. Zaijian!