Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday 2/27 in Shanghai

Today was 20% work, 80% shopping, which itself is a lot of work. So basically it was all work. Stopped by the office in the morning to complete a small project, then on to the shopping!

The goal for the day was to get a completely custom made tailored suit, at a high quality, for $100 or less. A coworker offered to meet me at the subway station nearest his tailor, but first I had an hour to kill, so I stopped by an electronics market behind my hotel. I had heard good and bad things about this place. This good: nice small market where you can get noise-cancelling headphones. The bad: two of my coworkers refer to it as "the flashlight place" presumably because most of the vendors sell things like LED headlamps and laser pointers among other goodies. Once I found it by matching up my Chinese-language directions with the sign, I have to say that I love this place, it turned out to be one of my favorite marts, in spite of (or possibly because) I spent an hour there and only bought one small piece of stationary. At the other marts in Shanghai, I have ended up leaving with all sorts of expensiveish goods I didn't know I needed - mostly clothing and trinkets - and feeling completely exhausted from dodging the "hey mister I give you best price" yelling ladies and the haggling and the checking to see if the products look reasonably legit and well assembled. At this "little" electronics mart (I explored the first 3 of at least 4 floors and there were at least 50 vendors on each floor), I found all sorts of neat electronic and computer adapters, connectors, tips, cables, converters, etc. It's like Radio Shack's warehouse. I don't want to see the big mart everyone is pushing me towards.

Then, at the tailor's, I picked out the fabrics, style, measurements, etc on the suit - and negotiated in a custom made tailored shirt too. This plus a set of matching tie, cufflinks, and handkerchief all for $110 total. I'm pretty happy with my purchaose, but we'll see how it all comes out. I'm planning to wear it to a ball in St Petersburg next week, so hopefully I have what it takes to be a good suit and shirt designer.

Another pricing oddity. Popped into Davidoff (the actual store, not a knock-off haggle market) to look at cigars. The cheapest machine-made Montecristo's are 250 RMB for a small box. The cheapest lighter is 5890 RMB. Why do lighters cost 20x more than Cuban cigars?? Some sort of Communist solidarity?

Had dinner with Boris - a guy I spent 17 hours of a 13 hour flight with on Monday. He's a very interesting character, with views on getting the most out of business travel, why Russia is doomed to fail in 10 years (if it hasn't already), how his most important goal is to find Russian Jewish girls for his sons to marry, what you need to know about Chinese massage, and so on. You name the topic, he has an opinion, and often yours is the wrong one. I love this guy, he was fun to share Shanghai with, especially in short doses (he's flying to another Chinese city tomorrow to continue his important work auditing factories that produce components for his employer's medical testing devices).

Two amusing articles from the paper today:

"Cause of death of detainee is disputed by kin" - article about 3 suspicious deaths in Chinese prisons. What's so suspicious about these???
"A MAN died in a central China detention house with cut-off nipples, injured penis and a hole in his head, while police claimed he died from an acute disease after drinking a cup of water." "In February 2009, Li Qiaoming, 24, was beaten to death by three fellow inmates in Yunnan Province, but the detention center at first claimed that he died of playing a game of 'hide-and-seek.' In March 2009, Li Wenyan in Jiangxi Province died in a detention house of what authorities said was a bad dream."

"Google links with US spy agency" - so let me see if I get this straight. Chinese hackers allegedly infultrate some of Google's servers - Google asks the NSA for help tracking down the hackers - Chinese newspaper makes it sound like Google is letting the NSA sit on the thrown and wear the crown jewels.


Grenetz said...

I want to see the suit!

Karen said...

What ball? I want to go to a ball. And see the suit.

Dave said...

Olga's Dad's 60th birthday jubilee extravaganza :)