Shopping! Food! Sleep?

Trip Start Oct 01, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Flag of China  , Guangdong,
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Work has still been going slow. Agonizingly so. The last few days have picked up slightly but its still nowhere near what I'd expect from a company in North America or Europe. Hooray for lowest bidders?!?

But I did get to take Jacqui to the leather market with my coworker. He was looking for presents for his wife and mother...can't hurt to show Jacqui what Chinese shopping is all about. We didn't find anything that she least not anything that we could by just one of. The leather market houses mostly wholesalers. So they'll sell you 1000 Coach knockoff bags...but not just 1. I doubt most of them even had more stock than what they have on display. But we also looked for stuff for our neighbors, Paul and Theresa...who are the best neighbors anyone could ask for. Didn't know what kind of stuff they might like, so we didn't make any purchases. We'll have to go back and look for something now though. We can tie it into a trip to the electronics market. I've gotta buy a bigger memory card for the digital camera I borrowed from the office. I can only take 16 pictures with it now. I'll let you know how that goes.

We also did some Christmas shopping ourselves. I can't say what we bought(since a lot of family is going to read this). But I can say that I got a great deal on it. I also bought us a set of big, Jade lion bookends. They were just too cool looking. And Jacqui loves the color green.

The way negotiating here works is they tell you a price. You automatically counteroffer at 40-50% of what they initially told you. And make sure to look incredulous at their price. They'll go down to 80%, you move up to 55% or so and then hold your ground. If you can't get it at that price, offer to walk out to another store down the road...where you can find the exact same thing. At that point they'll do a lot of conferring and make another counteroffer at about 65%. You have to hold your point though. Tell them you know what it costs them and that you can get it cheaper down the road and they'll eventually buckle. Mostly because they know that they're still getting a good markup, but not the 100% markup they wanted from a foreigner. If they do let you walk out the door though, that means that A) They just made a big sale before you came in and don't need your money right then, try again in a few days; B) They weren't marking it up as much as most shops here do, try another store and see if they come down in price; or C) You're in a corporate store that you can't really bargain in (like Wal-Mart).

We've also tried a couple of new restaurants around here. There's 2 that serve western style foods that have lots of tasty things. One's name is Lucy's. It's got a '50s American theme to it. We went there the other night with my coworker and met up with an Aussie who's researching the Australian architect that designed a lot of the buildings on Shamian Island. She's pretty cool but we were having several "heated discussions" over various international topics. It was fun though. The other one is decidedly more mixed European. They've got a wine/cigar room to peruse. There is also a straight Italian restaurant, actually run by an Italian guy. It has awesome food too. Can't remember the name, but its on Shamian Island also. Then there's the Chinese restaurants around and in the hotel. All of them are tasty and we always end up ordering too much food for a family style dinner, but man I miss a General Tso's Chicken. We've been eating really good breakfast and dinners, but no lunch usually. I'll have one or two Mandarin oranges.

Lastly sleep...I've been missing out on it a lot. I'm up at ~6am every day, and getting in bed around midnite or 1am. It's gotten to where I want to just lay down and sleep immediately after dinner. But there's always emails and phone calls to make back to the states. I do have to say, I like the harder mattresses here. I don't sink down into them like I do in some places. But I can even fall asleep in the back of P.O.S. Peugeot during the trip that we take from the shop to the hotel. With the suspension and upholstery in that ting(or the lack of either) that's an accomplishment. Time to get back to work.
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