Sunday, September 17, 2006

How NOT to spend a Sunday in Shanghai.

What we have here, is a failure to communicate.
DongTai, Huxinting and the demise of Xiangyang.

I've been on a quest...

One of the requests I got before I came over here was for a couple mooncake boxes...

Never heard of Mooncake?
See this entry from last year in Beijing.

Well... Mom wanted a couple of theses ornate compartmented boxes that folks pack their mooncakes in. We were able to find some in Panjiayuan last year very easily, so I though it would be the same here... I'd just find the local flea market/antique place and check off that task and I'm off to my next item on my to-do list.

Since I'm still time shifted I'm still getting up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning, so by 7:00 I was ready to go. I thought I'd get breakfast down near the market.

I figured I'd find them either over in the Xiangyang market or over in DongTai/Fengbang/DaJing antiques area, so I went to the concierge to get a taxi card. Taxi cards have the hotel name and address on one side and the concierge writes in Chinese destination you want to go to on the other side...
I told the concierge I wanted a card to Xiangyang and he said that it was closed.

Yours Truly: Huh?
Concierge: Yes. Xiangyang closed.
YT: Closed because it's Sunday?
C: No. Market closed. No more.
YT: What's up with that?
C: No up. (Note 1. Don't use slang/jargon with someone when English isn't their primary language.)
YT: What?
C: No up. No more market.
YT: Oh. What happened? (I had a pretty good idea.)
C: Government closed down.
YT: They closed the government too?
C: What? (Note 2. Don't try to be funny with someone when English isn't their primary language.)
YT: Never mind. So, the market is closed.

Basically, this is story: at 9:30 PM, June 30, 2006, all the gates of Xiangyang Market were closed, and no customers were allowed to enter the market from then on. Soon, the buildings was razed and the site is being turned into a retail and office complex.

No more Xiangyang Market in Shanghai. So don't need to waste time to go to the site to try your luck - it is closed, and it is gone.
It is clear message of "NO" to fake goods and products. According to the news, other markets put "No Fake Goods" into the rental contracts and keep close eyes on this issue. Anyway, China has entered the WTO; the Beijing Olympics will be held in 2 years, and the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is just 3 years ahead.
No more screwing around.

Now, if you think this is the end of the "You want watch, DVD Bag?" guys, I have news for you... they are still all over the place, but they aren't concentrated like they were in Xiangyang...

I was bummed... I headed over to the taxi stand.
I showed my taxi card to the taxi dude- they guy who hails the taxis in front of the hotel... This is the same guy who was calling me "Harley Davidson" last year... He saw me when I got here and shouts "Ay ya! Har-re Davisson!"

So... I'm off to Dongtai Lu.

Dongtai is a place with small stalls of antiques along a narrow road...
Pics from last year...

Thought I'd find those boxes easily, but alas, it was not to be.
I walked up and down the streets, peeking and poking around, but never found a box store. I found lots of ornate little chests and small wood boxes, but not the type I was looking for.

I saw a woman carrying 2 small boxes of the same type I was looking for.

I tapped her on the shoulder to ask her where she got the boxes.
(I thought she was a shopkeeper... oops.)
She stopped, looked up at me panic-stricken...
I pointed at the box then around the market.
"Where did you get these?" I asked.
Ok... Maybe this wasn't the best plan.
Let's set the scene...
A woman has purchased 2 gifts for someone in the market, and is scurrying off to wherever she lives. A huge ogre accosts her in the street, pointing at her gifts and gesturing all over the place and babbling at her.
This, of course, is a recipe for trouble...
I can see her building up for a good scream. This is going to go bad, I can tell.
Another woman shopping sees the trouble and comes to our collective rescue...the rescuer explains my question, the other woman says she doesn't know and hurries off with many backward glances to make sure she isn't being persued by the monster.

I wandered the markets until around 1, then got some lunch.

Kind of by accident I found the Huxinting Shanghai Teahouse...

You will note, just like in the Forbidden City in Beijing,
the ubiquitous Starbucks in the square behind the teahouse.

It's near Yuyuan Gardens near the Dajing jewelry area.
At one time the Huxinting Teahouse was a very prestigious place for business; Now it is a tourist trap of the highest order- I hear the tea is average at best... You'll see very few locals there now, except ones accompanying Westerners who are looking for an old-Shanghai experience.
They'd be better off going to Gu Yuan on Fuxing Lu for a more authentic time...

I went over to the Cybermart and shopped around a bit, then headed back to the Mayfair.

I got in about 3:30 and they were just starting to clean my room...Lovely.

I sat in the lobby bar and had a drink with 2 airline pilots- they got to listen to me ranting about airlines and airports... I got to listen to them rant about passengers and flight attendants...
We both ranted about the TSA. Glad to hear they are as disgusted as I am with the whole process...

Oh well...

More videowall testing today...

Fingers crossed. I'm going over to the temple over in Zhongshan park and burning some incense, maybe influence the local deities in our favor for this test.

I'll let you know.

Amazing out-

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