Sunday was a free day, so Russ, Roger and Doug ( the men) all decided to take a ride on the Maglev (magnetic levitation) train to the airport and back. It goes over 400 miles per hour and they wanted to have this experience at least once in their lives! James, our guide went with the men on the train to be their Chinese interpreter, just in case. Nick (who was feeling much better), Lisa, Athena and Justin (the kids) decided to go bargain shopping with their babies. They didn’t need a guide because after Beijing they were pros! Ellen, Sylvia and Jackie (the women) decided to go shopping as well but took Anvar with them as a guide.
Well the women had a great time. Anvar took them to a knock off market that was 3 or 4 stories high with many little shops selling their wares. They expected you to barter and Jackie was so great at bartering, Sylvia and I had Jackie do all our bartering for us. It was great fun watching Jackie at work!! We bought all kinds of things at unbelievable prices. $350 Canadian dollar for a Pandora bracelet with just a few beads; we bought for $15. dollars with 14 beads! Poor Anvar left us at this point because we spent a couple of hours pouring over which beads we wanted and he was bored with us. At one point Jackie and I bought three purses then later Jackie noticed that a clasp on her strap was weak. So we went back to exchange the purse or get a better strap. The store girls said that they didn’t have any more straps. So Jackie said no problem she would pick a different purse and exchange the broken one. She asked where their Gucci bags were because last time we were there they had all kinds of Gucci bags. (Oh I forgot to say that most of the shops are all fronts and the good products are in the back behind a secret door. I had wanted to take a picture and they said no). The shop girl tells Jackie that the police were walking around so all the Gucci bags had been moved upstairs and one of the girls would take her up there to look for a new bag. So off Jackie goes with a little shop girl while we wait at the purse shop. Next thing I know Jackie comes storming back into the shop saying she was going to call the police and the little shop girls are hopping up and down trying to keep Jackie quiet. They ended up giving her two straps for her purse and off we go happy. It turned out that the shop girl who took Jackie to the elevator asked her how many purses she was going to buy? Jackie said none because we had already bought three, she only wanted to exchange one that had a weak clasp. The shop girl said you no buy; I no take you upstairs; you waste my time and she walked away leaving Jackie standing in the middle of the floor surrounded by people looking at her. Jackie was furious (for good reason) and stormed back into the shop threatening to call the police. They really helped us then; we were their best friends by the time we left!
As we walked along we bumped into the kids and they had been shopping up a storm. Apparently Justin was their barterer. He would ask what is your best pricing, joking aside. They would say a price and he would start laughing and say I told you no jokes. That is so funny, I would never pay that. Justin has such a nice way about him that they just kept coming down in price. All four kids had a great day and bought up a storm.
We women went to lunch at a Japanese restaurant down on the bottom floor and shortly after Nick, Lisa and A.J. arrived for lunch. As we were looking through the menu, Jackie noticed a table across from us with four Caucasian women. She asked what they were having and they said that they were from Air Canada and that all the food was safe at this restaurants. Apparently, all the flight attendants and pilots from Canada eat at this restaurant. That was good news as Nick was still cautious with food. Anyway they started talking about the Grouse Grind. And we asked where they were from? Turned out all four girls were from Vancouver and a couple of them were from Ocean Park where Russ and I live! How is that for being a small world? They wee the crew that would be working on the kids flight home!
For dinner we ended up having Italian again at our hotel. It was very good but we had to eat in a hurry as we were off to the Circus! Then we rushed out to attend a Chinese circus. Well this circus was amazing. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! The acts they did probably wouldn’t be allowed in North America! One act was motorcycles driving around inside a big globe like cage at top speed. The motorcycles went so fast that they jumped off the walls and they put 8 motorcycles into this big cage all at the same time. We had a hard time watching, expecting an accident to happen at any time. Another act was a man and women spinning in the air holding onto silk fabric with no safety wires or anything. The acrobats were amazing! The whole crowd was going Wow, you couldn’t help yourself from making noises the acts were so surprising.
One guy juggled huge ceramic flower pots (they weigh a lot) and he threw one up in the air and caught it on his head! Ouch! It was a great show, lots of surprises and lots of energy!!! I highly recommend watching a circus performance when visiting China!