Sunday, November 11, 2012

Getting to See Some of the “Real China”

This morning, Elsie took us out for a little shopping and she showed us areas that we hadn't seen on this trip or last. It was extremely interesting. Unfortunately, I don't think I got very good photos for the most part. 

We started out at a wholesale jewelry marketplace so that Jeannette could replace her pearl earrings. She also bought some earrings to match the necklace that Ellen Zarfas gave her a few weeks ago and a necklace and earrings for Jillian to wear someday. (We bought Melody a set during our last trip. I think we got just a little bit better deal this time. Okay, probably a lot better.)

One of our stops was at Hualin Temple. I decided not to go in but I did peek in the door at the dozens of golden buddhas and we had good opportunity to observe people approach the temple with bundles of burning incense sticks or shoving currency in the mouths of the lion statues guarding the entrance. Melody was pretty interested in the temple and wondered if Jillian believed in Buddha. 

Elsie also walked us through a variety of other shopping areas. These pictures are from what is essentially an open air mall. In the first one, note the sky high apartment complex in the background. It is amazing how big some of the apartment buildings in Guangzhou are. On this Sunday afternoon, there were a lot of teens out and things were just crowded in general. I guess it was a special shopping holiday of some sort. I didn't get to look at most of them very closely but there were also a number of pretty cool statues scattered along the way. 

My favorite name for a store at this mall? Name Pants City. I didn't go in, but I'm kind of guessing that this was a store full of knock-offs of name brand jeans and pants. As a point of reference, you can see that most of the pants in the store are priced at 99 yuan. This is just a little below $16 US. 

We also walked through a whole string of pet shops on the street. I took photos of the turtles for Jameson. We saw birds, rabbits, tubs of fish, hamsters, cats, puppies and even a squirrel. 

We also passed by several blocks of food shops. In most cases, each store specialized in one type of food. There was one that sold mushrooms that were probably nine inches in diameter and another where you could buy seahorses. One shop had several tubs filled with small and medium size scorpians! Next to these was a tub with a couple of turtles in it. Elsie told us these were sold together so you could make turtle and scorpian soup! I asked her if it was good and she just shook her head.

We ended up on Shamian Island to do some shopping for clothes. Shamian Island used to be the hub of international adoptions in China, with every US adoptive family going through its streets and many staying at The White Swan hotel. Much has changed in the last seven or eight years, though, and it's a much quieter place. We had pretty good luck with our shopping, though we were only there for about an hour. Jillian was quite excited when Jeannette happened to stumble upon the same dress that she was wearing on Monday, when they brought her to us!

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