Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 3 in Shanghai: Selling Shoes

I had enough self-discipline to stay up until 11:00 last night, so I managed to sleep until 7:00! Once our day started, we went on a subway under the river to get to the land the French used to have control of. We went to the tallest building in Shanghai, but it was foggy and when we got to the top our favorite part was buying ice cream cones.

In the afternoon we went to an indoor shopping center for tourists, so every shop a clothes, jewelry, or electronics store. I figured out that they didn't carry any smalls, and one of the vendors explained why. I think he said it's because most foreigners are too big for small, but regardless, not being able to buy clothes put a damper on any shopping spree that I might had. I did decide that I wanted a scarf, though, so my roommate Colin and my fashion help Rebekah came along to bargain. I ended up buying a nice light blue one that they said looked pretty good. Then Colin went to the bathroom and we lost him in the maze of shops, so it was Rebekah and I with an hour left.

We wandered around for a while and then I saw a stool by one of the shops that was unoccupied at the moment. I sat down and decided to start hawking their wares to people in as bad of Chinese as they have of English. Actually, there were a few stools open, and when Rebekah and I decided we didn't know the word for "luggage," I changed stools to a shop that sold shoes for babies.

As people came by, I asked them if they wanted to buy some shoes. The nearby vendors found this entertaining, and asked if those were my shoes. "Of course," I said in Chinese. They said something about the owner and lunch, but we couldn't understand, so they gave up on that and asked us how much we were going to sell the shoes for. "Too much," I told them. "How much money do you have?" I mimicked. "These are very good shoes. How much do you want them for? That's too cheap. Come on, just have a look." They decided that it was great fun talking to the crazy foreigners and asked us more questions. We didn't catch all of what they said, but they had a good time teaching us and told us that it was too much trouble to go to Chengdu and we should stay in Shanghai and keep them company.

Eventually our conversation turned into a quiz of body parts in Chinese, which we've never really learned. Rebekah and I learned that "eye" and "sunglasses" are the same sound (yanjing) except the second syllable is first tone for one word and fourth tone for another. As we moved on to other body parts, my knowledge was really being taxed, and they could tell. I think that tou and tui sound pretty similar, but the vendors thought it was hilarious that I pointed to my leg and said "head." After that I don't think they could take anything I said very seriously.

Unfortunately, we left without selling any shoes, but the women we were talking to didn't sell anything while we were there either, so I was proud that I was as productive as they had been.

After that, we went back to the hotel and I slept straight until 9:00 when we all decided to try to go to a club. That bit of sleep killed my progress in overcoming jetlag and now I think my body is back to being confused about where I am and what time it is.

2 comments:

The Roommate Back Home said...

Hey Will, This reminds me of your amazing skills at selling mattresses and your not so amazing skills at selling...MY parking spot.

just now getting to all your blogs. Got some catching up to do. I am really enjoying them

jimmy t said...

reading these are making my day...i want to be there.