Woke up at about 5.00am with a splitting headache and feeling quite nauseous. 😦 Got up for a drink of water and went back to bed again to try to get back to sleep, but only managed to doze on and off.
Woke up again about 7 o’clock and went to the loo, where my guts were rumbling ominously. It didn’t feel like a hangover, but more as if I was going down with something. Trevor was awake too, and he said he also didn’t feel too well. We wondered if it was the fish we’d eaten on the plane yesterday, against our better judgement.
Drank some more water and looked all over for some paracetamol; anything that would get rid of this awful headache.
Got out of bed again; this time to be sick. Felt a bit better afterwards. Took some Imodium. 😦
When Margaret got up (Alan had already left for work about 7.00am) we asked her for some paracetamol and I took them with a glass of cold water, as well as a glass of dry ginger ale, which is really good for alleviating nausea.
I felt a lot better after I’d showered and got ready, once the tablets had kicked in and the headache had abated somewhat. At about 10.00am we decided to go out to “Emily’s Café” to see if we could manage a light breakfast.
Emily’s is a lovely little café and I enjoyed a thirst-quenching cup of Jasmine tea as well as a lovely, freshly baked almond croissant, served warm. By this time we were feeling more human and raring to go. 🙂
Margaret had arranged for a car to come and pick us up and take us to the Luohu Commercial City, a well-known shopping complex about a 40 minute drive away. The area is popular with tourists and visitors and is renowned for its copies (fakes!) of famous designer goods, mainly handbags, sunglasses and watches, such as Chanel, Prada, Gucci, etc. Apparently there are even different grades of fakes, from A to AAAAA. The shopping complex also boasts many bespoke tailors and dressmakers, where you could get something made-to-measure and it would be ready for you in 48-hours.
When we got there, Margaret told us that the vendors would always quote their first price way, way over the top, thinking we were tourists. Because Alan and Margaret have lived in China for over 18 months now, they are wise to the ways of the merchants and won’t fall for being ripped off, whereas Trevor and I don’t know any differently. Therefore Margaret said if we saw something we were interested in, to leave the bartering to her. 🙂
On entering the complex it was a shoppers’ paradise. Like most women, I was interested in the shoes and handbags, but it had to be exactly what I wanted; something that would really catch my eye. We looked at a few fake Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags, but to be honest, they looked like fakes, plasticky and cheap and nasty looking. I didn’t think any of them were worth the prices they were asking, even when Margaret beat them down a bit.
Walking around the dressmakers’ shops, I was mesmerised by the absolutely gorgeous evening dresses, stitched in silks, satins and brocades and decorated in sequins and seed beads, so intricately worked. Many of the dresses were traditional cheong sams, but there were also lots of other evening dresses, some with matching wraps or bolero jackets. I was so tempted to see if I could get one (or two!) made, but I must admit I do need to lose some weight and I didn’t want to order the dresses because (A) they wouldn’t really look nice on me until I’m a bit… no, a lot… thinner and (B) what would be the point of getting one made now, if I’m going to lose weight? It wouldn’t fit me in months to come. So it was with some reluctance that I had to turn away from the dresses, but there’s an incentive to diet if ever there was one.
After browsing around the shops some more, we came across a shoe shop which had a range of colourful and unusual styles. We spent quite some time in there, with me trying lots of different styles on, and comparing one style with another and completely being spoilt for choice. The price was shown as 168 Yuan per pair (about 17 quid) but Margaret whispered, “If you see three pairs you want to buy, you’ll get all three pairs for 300 Yuan”. (Just over 30 quid.)
So I browsed through them, and got the assistant to bring out the pairs in my size, and finally narrowed my choice down to three pairs: a 3″ wedge in a beige colour covered in rhinestones, a strappy pair with pale green, white and beige straps with rhinestones, and a delicate mesh pair, with diamante decorations. Margaret offered them 300 Yuan, at which the girl looked totally offended! After bartering a bit, the girl came down to 400 Yuan, but Margaret made her final offer at 325, take it or leave it. They still looked pretty offended and refused. Therefore we said “OK, we’ll leave it then, there are plenty of other shops” and we left the shoes in their boxes on the floor of the shop, and walked out!
As we were wandering around the other shops, we could see the assistant coming out of the shop with her calculator in hand, watching us. It was only when we started looking in the window of another shoe shop that she approached us and beckoned us back to the shop. When we hesitated, Margaret said “We’ve given you our final price, 325 Yuan or we don’t want them”, and we continued walking.
At this point, the girl gave in, and agreed to sell me all three pairs for 325 Yuan, 179 Yuan cheaper than the marked price! 🙂
In another shop, I got a neat little green shoulder bag; it wasn’t a designer copy, it was just a bag I liked, and I got it for 12 quid.
All in all, a good morning’s shopping, and I was pleased with my purchases.
The car came back for us and took us back ‘home’, where we enjoyed a cold beer along with some fresh bread, ham, pickles, crackers and pâté. We then decided to have an afternoon nap.
Later on, we went along to Frog’s where we met up with Alan and the rest of the gang. We had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the banter; I can understand why Alan and Margaret made it their local pub.
For dinner we went along to a really good restaurant called the “Boat House”. It came highly recommended by Alan. I had an Aberdeen Angus burger on home-made bread, with chips and side salad. It was delicious. There was also understated entertainment on in the shape of a keyboard player/guitarist and a female singer.
Once we’d eaten fit to burst we went back to the apartment, watched a bit of TV and had a night cap. What a great day we’d had, and spent in such convivial company as well. 🙂