December 12, 2008

8. Shop until you get a really good price for a really fake item.
If you can’t find it in China, then it simply does not exist. And if it does not exist, then it can be made. Shopping here at the many markets can be a full day event and even though it might take you a good half an hour to bargain the price down, it’s all part of the fun. You can find anything and everything, from electronics to toys to clothes, and the black market of brand name items is alive and kicking. You can get yourself a fake ipod, Tickle Me Elmo doll or, in my case, a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. You can buy fake Adidas sneakers at a bargain basement price and then walk next door to the flagship store where real versions of the same shoes sell for ten times the price. Or are they real?

I decided to take my time with Beijing and stayed on for three weeks, giving me enough time to come to the realization that it’s a good thing the pollution kicked in or I might have never left.

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