It looked like it was going to rain today so we decided to do something indoors. Our first stop was the train station to try to get our tickets for Xi’an later in the week. It was packed with people and we had to wait in line for almost 20 minutes to find out that we have to go back because they only book a few days in advance. Next time I might send Jeff by himself, the crowds were a little intimidating. I am use to people in Korea touching Tyson, but here they seem to be a little more physical with him and he doesn’t like it.
When we left there we found out that the cab drivers here do not always use the meter and will instead give you an outrageous price for a very short ride. We knew that the Silk Market was not far, but most of them were asking anywhere from 150RMB to 250RMB. After asking several cab drivers to take us to the Silk Market, we finally settled on the one who asked for 150. Hopefully we get better at working out the price before we spend everything that we brought on taxies.
Before going to the Silk Market, I spent a lot of time reading about the shopping there. I tried to prepare myself for the on slot of “do you want to buy a shirt, how about a nice silk scarf, you need jeans, I have jeans here,” but I was nowhere near prepared enough for the thousands of venders who would not only ask if you wanted a scarf but toss one around your neck and drag you into their stall. We did not even make it to the end of the first isle before Jeff was rangeland into a dress shirt stall where the women went to work finding his size and pulling out every possible color. Before we went there I told him that the prices were going to be really high and it was his job to barter them down. Most articles I read about the market said to offer at least 80% off of their asking price and to stay firm. If they see you hesitating, they will stick to their higher prices. I have never been very strong at bartering, so I was more nervous than Jeff. However I found out very quickly I am REALLY good at it in China. While Jeff was looking at dress shirts, the lady next to him grabbed me to look at shirts for myself. I found one I really like and started working on the price. She started out at 3200 RMB and after staying firm on my price and even walking away a few times, I finally got my shirt for 60 RMB, about 10$ US. Jeff had a bit of a harder time working the price down but still walked away with two really nice dress shirts for about 40$. I was able to find some really nice gifts for our families back home but our best purchase of the day was Jeff’s custom made suit with a shirt for less than 150$. Not bad since the price started at around 700$. Thankfully Jeff waited for me to get there to talk about the price because he was going to offer a lot more than I did. We have to go back again on Saturday for a fitting then again on Sunday to pick it up. Not that I mind having to go back because I am having so much fun shopping. Although having Tyson there both helped and hindered at some places. He was having a hard time understanding the concept of bartering and kept telling everyone that “my Mommy and Daddy have lots of money, they should pay you more because were friends.” Yup, Tyson fell for that “Oh my friend, you’re crazy to ask so low of a price, you hurt my feelings” line. He yelled at me a few times and said I was making them so sad lol. I tried to explain it to him like it was a big game, that they want to sell what they have for a good price, but they want to see how much we will pay for it, if we pay too much we lose money, if we pay too little they do and it is our job to try to figure out the right price for the game to make us both happy. Little did I know that the very next person we went to see, Tyson would yell out “My Mommy is not going to pay you much because she is having fun playing the money game.” Even though we decided not to buy anything from there after that, he made me laugh and there was no way I could get mad at him for being so honest.