EVERYTHING THEY DO, THEY DO IT BIG
Shopping here is next level. There are more shopping districts and markets than you can shake a bamboo stick at. Not to mention almost every street is lined with individual little shops that sell anything you can imagine. Most of the major stores and brands are out here, and for some reason they feel the need to build the biggest storefronts you’ve ever seen. And many of them lit top-to-bottom with flashy LED lights. You’d think they were Vegas hotels.
If you don’t feel like paying full price for that Coach bag you’re dying for, you can head to one of the fake markets to get knock-off ANYTHING. Bags, watches, phones, clothing, everything. These places are 3-4 floors and packed wall to wall with booths. They all essentially sell the same stuff and will literally try to pull you into their booth to look. I had to check a few people for grabbing me when I wasn’t even looking their direction. NO sense of personal space here.
I was hipped to these places by a friend, who said all these tiny booths have secret compartments or rooms in back, where they keep their higher quality items. The crap knockoffs are up front, they good stuff is all hidden. The shelving and walls of these booths push, fold, and slide all sorts of crazy ways revealing a whole new room of faux goods. They have catalogs of all your favorite brands and can have their “runner” bring you whatever you want to look at. I felt like i was in the middle of a drug deal. I didn’t buy anything but it was a damn cool experience.
Where I did clean up was the infamous Fabric Market, the same huge 3 story building but all dedicated to custom made clothing.. DIRT CHEAP. Suits, coats, jackets, dresses, scarves, ties, anything. They have samples, catalogs, or can make anything you want them to if you have an idea. I’m waiting on a tailor-made suit right now, should be done tomorrow.. for the whopping price of $90 USD. Also picked up 2 nice jackets for about $70 USD each. Unreal. All the employees at M1NT have their shirts and suits made here. Deals!
There’s a huge electronics market here too, but I don’t even mess with that b/c they are huge on manufacturing fake iPhone and iPads here. Errrr’ybody is trying to sell me an iPhone 4. Yeah right. I did however get my phone unlocked there for $12, not bad.
After ordering up my pimp suit, I wandered over to Old Shanghai, which is made up of great chinese architecure, and more shopping of course. I was looking for more traditional chinese souvenirs to take home, yet still being asked ever 2mins if I want an iPhone, iPad, bag, or a lady. After much annoyance I figured out how to get rid of these guys… put them on camera. Smile!
Besides drinking and shopping, the other thing to do here is get massages. Massage places here are like Starbucks in Seattle, Thai restaurants in SF, or Liquor stores in the hood. They’re on every corner. Only problem is you can’t distinguish the legit places from the “rub & tugs”.. The ones where guys stand in heavy tourist areas and every 5 feet.. “lady? you want lady? lady sex massage?” I’m cool, thanks.
My buddy said there was a spot by his house that was legit and cheap ($12 for 90mins). Shoot, sign me up! We got there and the place was nice and clean. We got in the room and they gave us the clothing to wear- apparently legit places make you wear clothes, so no one gets the wrong idea about what they do. Whatever I can deal w/ that.
The ladies come in and go to work. The massage seemed a bit unorthodox, starting with my face, but I was rolling with it. Neck and shoulders were mediocre, then she moved to arms and it was all bad. She was just quickly squeezing different areas of my arm top to bottom. WTF is this? she’s not hitting muscles or even concentrating on a single area. I dealt w/ it for several mins before asking her to stop and just move to my back. I flipped over, and it was more of the same. She was borderline hurting me b/c she was putting pressure on all the wrong places. Too much here, not enough there, etc. It was so bad I stopped her, and signaled to my friend to have him translate that I didn’t like the massage and wanted someone else. Or I’d rather just lay there and wait for his massage to be done.
She left, the manager came in, apologized and said he’d send in another person. A few mins later I got a new person, who was marginally better but tolerable. Prob the longest 90mins of my life, and pretty sure I left more tense than when I came in. $12 down the drain.
I’m told none of these girls have any formal training, which is why there are a million massage places and they are all so damn cheap.
I did end up getting the most amazing massage of my life (no happy ending) at a higher end chain called Dragonfly. 90min head, shoulder, and foot massage for around $25!! Best believe i’ll be returning multiple times before I leave on Sunday.
I promise this is the last time I talk about McDonalds, its just such a fascinating place here. Last weekend I went after the club to get some delicious spicy wings, and to my amazement 90% of the people inside were sleep at their tables. One guy was even laying down in the booth… and the empolyees didn’t seem to care. Mind you these aren’t homeless people, they are relatively young and well dressed folk. Who seem to just pass out after eating.
I went back a few nights ago around the same time (4am), and sure enough just about everyone was asleep!! Why pay for a hotel when you got Mickey Dees…