Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Exploration and New Shoes

I greatly overestimated the comfort of my sandals and the first order of the day was to find a pair of gym shoes. At the Oriental Plaza, there was an assortment of ladies' Adidas footwear in silver, lime green and purple. The salesman asked us if customer service is better in China. "I hear in the US, you have to go get your own shoes", he said. We reassured him that his service was much superior; my feet were significantly happier in silver gym shoes lined with hot pink that he proudly proclaimed matched the socks I bought.

Beijing's public places are devoid of benches and places to sit, so we spent several hours at Starbucks, enjoying each other's company and dodging the humidity and heat outside. Two girls next to us were puzzled about where to deposit their trash. We learned they were from Hebei, their first visit to Beijing, and not too enamored with the Starbucks coffee they just had - "too bitter", they said, and having put too many envelopes of sugar in, "too sweet at the bottom".

In the mall, I was surprised at the buying power of the shoppers. Clothing prices of US brands were comparable to what we pay and the shops were doing a steady and good business from what we could see.

We headed home at the end of the day via multiple transfers on the subway and emerged an hour later from underground to find that it was pouring rain with heavy thunder and lightning. Given that we had no umbrellas, it seemed like the best decision was to wait it out. We counted seconds between thunder and lightning, and just when it appeared to be clearing up, it started to come down in sheets. Hours later, we took a chance and left. Fortunately, the evening's remaining raindrops cleared to a lovely evening.

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