Hutong Tour/ Shopping Do’s and Don’ts

On Saturday we went on a pedicab Hutong tour. At one point we were accousted by a couple of ladies selling bags. Steve and I ignored them and they moved on to Jim and Heather (the Macbeths) behind us. Heather decicded to ask how much one of the bags were and that was a huge mistake. The two ladies started walking along beside and yelling out prices shoving the bags at them. The alleyways in the hutong are barely big enough for the pedicabs so it is very close quaters and we were moving slowly so they had no trouble keeping up. We thought that when we entered the courtyard house to tour it we had finally shaken them and they would move on to someone eles. But sadly no they were waiting outside shoving the bags back in everyones faces. Steve actually physically put his arm between the one of them and his mom and shouted no she doesn’t want any so his mom could pass and get back in the pedicab. They ladies yelled at Steve and were soon all over his parents again. Finally wearing them down Jim handed them 50RMB about 6or 7 dollars Canadian for a bunch of the bags. The second lady was then angry because none of her bags where bought but luckily she did not keep persuing us on our tour.

The lesson is do not under any circumstances talk to someone selling something. Ignore them or say no firmly and move on. If you show any interest or weakness by chatting or explaining why you don’t want something you are fair game and will be relentlessly heckled until you buy something. This goes at some of the markets too. If you are intrested in an item decide the most you will pay then once they give you their price counter with yours and if they won’t give it to you walk away. They almost always cave and give you your price. Also your final prices should be no more than 25% of their starting price in most cases.

We did see a couple of lovely courtyard homes and some nice shops on our tour though and after enjoyed a drink by the lake at a Starbucks.

Then we saw a cute little chinese girl about the same size as Zoe. Zoe walked over to say hi and we took a picture as did the adults with her. Within a minute or two a crowd had gathered and she was surrounded by people. They then started stepping in and posing with her for pictures. These where adults not kids. After a couple Steve swooped in and rescued her out of the crowd which did watch and a couple kind of followed but mostly dispearsed after. She will know how celebrities feel after living here for awhile.

We are off to the Forbiden City today so it may be another day of crowds for Zoe. We will take pictures and try to get them up so everyone can see them.

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