The ride from Baoding to Beijing was entertaining. We were stuffed into our van like sardines, with all of our billions of suitcases. Ben offered to have me sit in front while he sat in the back with the kids, and I could hear, through the muffled sounds coming from behind the barrier of suitcases, that it wasn't a pleasant ride for him. Haha! My kids have a way of making car rides unpleasant.
I actually had a great time. I briefly asked the driver if he knew English, he said "A little," and that was about all we had to say to each other. So I took a snooze. It took about 2 hours to go 80 miles. That's how bad Beijing traffic is.
We got to our hotel and asked if we could put most of our suitcases into their locked storage room. We had the clothes we needed for Beijing just in a couple of small bags. It was nice not to have to climb over suitcases in our hotel room.
And can I tell you how amazing that hotel was???? The mattresses were really, really soft. Ahhhh. And the bathrooms DIDN'T SMELL LIKE A SEWER!!! So luxurious. The showers had doors so you didn't spray everything under the sun! It was wonderful.
As soon as we put our small suitcases down, we were ready to head out and eat some American cuisine. I had read that there were several American food spots to eat at the Silk Market, and we needed to head over there anyways to pick up some UGGs for my sisters. Word on the street was that you could get them for really, really cheap. Summer had expressed her skepticism that we could get such a good deal on authentic UGGs, but I did want to check it out.
So we hailed a taxi and went on over there. Here we are on the outside of the Silk Market:
While we ate, we stared at other foreigners on the veranda eating - people speaking all sorts of languages. Ben picked up on some Portugese, and I picked up on some French. And of course, English. Heavenly English. I remember our busy waitress was Chinese, and she had on really heavy whiteish base and powder on her skin that was kind of flaking off with her sweat. It's so funny to me that Chinese ladies want white skin. Opposite of us westerners, for sure.
So then we were off on our quest to find UGGs. We started walking on the level that has clothing, just kind of browsing around, and the salespeople were like flies on...well, you know what. They would grab and touch us and our kids and yell and try to entice us to come to their stands. "Look at you! Four beautiful children! Come try our Abercrombie sweatshirts!!" And, of course, the title of my post is a direct quote from another saleslady. They were very flattering. At first, I was feeling like hot stuff, like, "Yeah! I AM a sexy mom!" But after hearing the same thing fifteen more times, I realized that this is the way they lure you to their stands. :)
I learned not to wander into a vendor's stand unless you're serious about purchasing something. I went into this one stand to look at some coats, and I tried a few on. There was one that was kind of pretty, but I wasn't in love with it. The saleslady was like, "This is only 1,000 yuan!!! You can't get a better deal than this!" 1,000 yuan is about...300 something bucks. I was like, "Whoa, yikes," and went to take it off, so she started bringing the price down. Down and down and down. I really wasn't serious about getting a coat - I have a billion, and I wanted to buy something that I was really in love with, you know? So I kept saying, "You know, I just don't really think I want a coat. I'm so sorry... Thanks for letting me try this on, though..." But this gal wasn't about to let me walk away without selling me this coat. Her price continued to drop, clear until she hit 180 yuan. From 1,000 yuan to 180 yuan!! 180 yuan is about 30 bucks. As I walked away, she grabbed my arm plaintively, saying, "I don't know what I did wrong...I don't know what I did wrong...I can't give you a lower price than this..." I almost bought the coat just so she wouldn't be sad. :) I told her I would come back, but, um, I didn't. Haha!
We finally got directions to the shoes, which was one level down. And then we saw them. UGGs. The real things. Any color you could want. Silvery paisley ones. Pink satin ones. And of course, the original tan, brown, black, grey... We asked how much, and I think they were quoting about 1200 yuan a pair, and we were like, dude. We can get those for that much ($200) at home. So we started to walk away, and they started lowering their price. Ben looooooves bartering. He was having the best time. The ladies would wave their arms wildly as he continued asking for a lower price, protesting loudly, "What you are asking for is RIDICULOUS! There is NO WAY we can give them to you for that price!" But every time we started to walk away, they would lower it. That's what we learned - the lowest price they will go is the one they offer when you're walking away. We got them down to 180 yuan per pair - $30. Thirty bucks, for UGGs!!! Everywhere here that I see them, they're $200. So I got two pair for Lex and one pair for Nat. (Beads thinks UGGs are named UGGs because they're UGly, so I got her a different souvenir.)
They had to go upstairs into the storage area to get the right sizes, so the saleslady offered me a stool to sit on:
While I was sitting there waiting, there were two gals from Scotland bartering with the saleslady over some slip-on flats - a different brand. They finally settled on a price, and the lady was digging for the right size when I asked the gals whereabouts from Scotland they were - they were from Edinburgh. They had the cutest accents. They had been to the silk market several times and told me that you can always get a price down to 10% of what you would pay in England or the U.S. So perhaps we could have talked them down to $20 per pair of UGGs, but I felt great about the deal we were getting and went with it.
I didn't really find anything for myself that I was interested in that day - the kids were really grumpy (they were tired of people touching them and yelling in their faces about how beautiful they are), and I was overwhelmed. So we got the kids some softserve vanilla ice cream - our first real ice cream in three months, and it was ohhhh so good. And then we left the silk market without having bought anything for me. But later that night, I was really regretting not getting myself some UGGs. My boots at home were wearing out, and I thought, "What was I THINKING, not getting any for myself? Duh!!" So, the next night, when we got home after a long day of touring, I sent Ben out for some American food and some UGGs for Kar. I stayed with the kids in the hotel room, because they were tired and grumpy. I told Ben I wanted one pair of black and one pair of brown, and that cute man not only got me those, but one grey pair as well. And dude, I love those boots so much. As Lexi says, walking in them is like "walking on a cloud." Hahaha!