Posts Tagged With: shopping

Shanghai Sillies

After nearly 5 years in Shanghai not much surprises us anymore. I think we have seen it all. The only thing that has changed is my bravery 😉 I used to do double takes and stare in disbelief at odd occurrences. Stories were shared about sites we have seen and I am sure a few people thought I was making things up. Well since it is our last year I decided to go for it -there are some things where a picture is worth it. They after all are not shy about snapping our photo even when you clearly say no in English or Chinese, so why not join in the snap happy fun? They are just asking for it with these Shanghai Sillies.

Saturday we went to Old Navy near Jing’an Temple for some great sales. After I was leaving the clearly marked change area we saw a shirtless man trying on sweaters (jumpers) in the main area of the store right in front of the change rooms. Why waste time going into a little room with mirrors when you can try them on while you shop?

I walked away, but decided I HAD to get a photo of this. Really I am not hiding behind this rack, but it was the best vantage point without being too obvious. Christmas season is sneaking up on us and sometimes tempers flare with the stress of getting the last ‘must have’ item on the shelf. Have you seen any crazy shopping sillies? Share them in the comments below, or maybe it is worth a picture and a post.

Is this my colour?

Is this my colour?

Personal Update – you may have noticed lately I haven’t been blogging regularly, virtual visiting or even responding to comments in my usual quick fashion. Some of you know I had not been feeling well and was down with a virus in the summer, then the start up of work was busy and then a tummy bug wore me down. This all hit one after the other. Well it seems it has been more than all that. I had to be rushed off to hospital a few weeks ago with severe pain. The first thought was my appendix, but turns out it is kidney stones. The pain is pretty incredible at times and goes from uncomfortable to so intense you think you may pass out. I am also suffering from fatigue. I can go to bed as early as 7PM. Sometimes I sleep through til morning where other times I am up with pain in the middle of the night. I am still being monitored by a doctor because they want to be sure there is not another underlying medical condition. Whenever I have free time I no longer blog due to the tiredness or discomfort of sitting. My free time is now spent napping. I blog when I can and most posts are quick and easy. Once I am back to myself and full of energy I hope my words and ideas will begin to flow easily again. I miss the blogging world and being active in it, but it is not forgotten. -CTB Nov. 16/14

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, everyday occurances, teaching overseas, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , ,

Old: Weekly Photo Challenge posts a theme for a photo challenge each Tuesday. Last week I participated for the first time and this week I have had lots of ideas, but not the chance to snap the pics to post on it. It seems each time we would be traveling in the opposite direction of where I needed to be 😉

The theme is OLD and the inspiration was the wedding rhyme “something old and something new…” according to We Drink Because we are Poets blog. I had a few ideas, but thought this was a good representation of something OLD with a Canadian twist. Since home for the summer I like to post some tidbits and attractions that make Canada special. All year I post on things in Shanghai, so now it is time to spot light home.

My interpretation for OLD is on the oldest Canadian company. With a little research I discovered it is not only the oldest in Canada, but perhaps the world! It was incorporated in 1670 when it was part of the fur trade industry in the Hudson Bay area of Canada. It stayed a part of the fur trade and slowly changed over the years to adjust to changing times and markets. Today fur is not its main staple, but instead it has morphed into a large department store selling appliances, furniture and clothing. It is a little more upscale than Walmart and other department chains and a comparison has been made to Macy’s and Nordstrom in the US.


From early on warm wool blankets with the traditional green, yellow, red and navy blue stripes on a cream background have been sold and kept people warm during those cold, snowy, Canadian winters. Today the same blankets can be purchased along with other items with the same traditional stripes. Just walking through The Bay today I saw pet collars and sweaters, children’s stuffed toys, canvas totes and mugs to name just a few.

Part of the Hudson Bay family has been recently lost as the Zellers brand was closed earlier this year. An American company bought out the shops recently and the Zellers stores were closed and slowly most of those former stores are having a face lift and reopening as the big American chain Target. The Hudson Bay company has held on. Other long time Canadian chains like Eaton’s and Zellers have closed, but the Bay is still there despite poor sales and the economy. Other big box stores with cheaper brands seem to be our shop of choice and despite the long-standing tradition these Canadian icons are let go without any emotion. Hopefully the longest standing company means something out there and the CEOs and public will keep it going for another 100+ years.

DSC04315 DSC04310










Sometimes being OLD isn’t negative, but full of tradition, experience and something to be proud of.

What traditions do you want to hold onto?

Stay tuned….


Categories: post a week, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tourist in My Own Town: YuYuan Garden

I came up with the idea to start posting on touristy things to see and do in my own adopted town and this is installment #2. Yesterday I went to YuYuan Garden on a quest to buy some gifts for people back home. The school year is winding down and we have 1 week left before I will be heading back to Canada for some much-needed R and R. The shopping trip was a great opportunity to snap some pictures of this busy market area.

main intersection around YuYuan Garden

main intersection around YuYuan Garden

YuYuan Garden is an actual garden, but I have yet to visit. Each time I have gone we have hit the shops and braved the crowds. After which has worn us out and we have headed back home. Yesterday was no exception as I carried my heavy purchases and was on sensory overload. After a few hours in the heat, pollution, bargaining, searching and walking it was time to head home. Shop til you drop certainly held true after this shopping trip.

I was in search of the Commodities Market adjacent to YuYuan Garden shopping area. The area is laden with a variety of shops selling cheap trinkets, souvenirs, colourful collectables, fake watches and bags, decorations for Christmas, Chinese New Year and Weddings, jewelery, leather goods and more. We strolled the long way round (accidentally) as we looked for our destination. As we went I snapped a few photos of the crowds and buildings with their old tiled and traditional curved rooves. Sometimes I took a turn down a street where boxes were being loaded, unloaded and unpacked. I felt this behind the scenes peek was forbidden tourist space, rather than public access, but no one took notice as they went about their daily chores. This is something we rarely glimpse at home since it is done all after hours, but here it was a job that needed to be done, so it was with no worry about the time, tourists or packing items strewn about and across pedestrian areas.

Once inside the Commodities Market we were greeted with 4 floors of chaos. The stalls were tightly packed together. Here the workers hardly took notice or called out to entice us inside. They went about napping, eating, chatting to each other or just watched us all pass by. If you took interest in their shop they would quickly come to help, but not always unless you asked questions. The less stressful approach to buying was much more welcoming than the constant “lady, lady Whatch you want?” or “Looky Looky”. However the sensory overload of colours and items crammed into every available space soon gave us the overwhelming feeling of where to begin. In some places it looked like a Dollar Store threw up! Imagine 4 floors of Dollar Store goods! After bargaining, walking away and getting called back I made my first purchase. After a  few more trinkets purchased I went back to the streets in search of the ‘real’ shops looking for something with more appeal and substance for gifts.

At the entranceDSC03955e to this small compound of tiny living quarters I came across these ladies with a baby and small child. They called to the passing tourists to ask about watches and bags, as they unfolded a small laminated card to show you all the big name brands they had available. The baby sat quietly as it was bounced around when the lady would quickly pass her off to other arms to grab the next person within ear shot. The baby wasn’t wearing diapers, but split pants (slit from front to back) and no diaper. When the crowd thinned they held the baby over the sidewalk to take a pee.  I wish I got a shot of that! NOT! As I said in my previous post, who am I to judge their customs and traditions? They feel it is healthier for a baby not to be covered – no diaper rash!

Before delving deeper and deeper and getting lost I found purchases for everyone I needed to buy for and decided to head back to the metro. My bags were getting heavy and the heat was sapping all my energy so it was a good time to head back.

YuYuan Garden certainly has it charm. Wandering the little streets, market stalls and shops is a fun way to spend the day. If you are not as interested in shopping it is a great place to people watch. Tourists from around the world gather here as well as locals running with bags of wares as they deliver to the many places. Rest assured you will see something interesting that you would never imagine or have the opportunity to see at home. Take Metro Line 10 to YuYuan Garden and take exit #1. From the exit  follow the crowds right or left and you will enter the many little streets to let you explore.

If you want to be a Tourist in Your Own Town then:

  • Include “Tourist in Your Own Town” in the title and tags so others and I can find you
  • Write a post and comment about it below
  • Be sure to leave a link to your site and link it back here to CTB 😀 so we can all read about your neck of the woods

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, everyday occurances, post a week, Tourist in My Own Town, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cost of Shanghai -May 28, 2013

Last year Jennifer at My Sardinian Life posted the cost of some things she purchased at the grocery store. A few others also posted on weekly purchases. Marianne has posted many times on the subject and it has been pretty interesting to compare. To see one of her shopping posts you can click here.

Yesterday I went off to the grocery store and bought a few things. I went to escape the drilling of the renovations 2 floors below me and ended up coming home with more than the original plan of the organic salad mix and flavoured coffee that I went for. As you know you should NEVER go shopping while hungry.


I decided to take my time and wander the aisles of the small shop. This shop caters to Expats and carries many Western products from Europe and The United States, all at a price. I enjoy browsing the two for 1 shelf and getting some good deals on products that we normally would avoid since the price is so inflated. I came away with 2 bags of chocolate crispy chocolate chunks for less than $3.00. I have been craving cheese Pringles that normally cost me 7-8 RMB, but here were 13! I haven’t been able to get them at my regular shop in weeks, so I splurged the extra 75 cents. Imagine my delight when I found my crunchy cheesies (OK I was hungry AND tired).  It is hard to find them here and the local brand of Cheetos is meat flavours… not so delightful, especially when you are expecting that salty cheese flavour! These are a bit expensive, but baked and gluten-free. It has also been a year since they have been in stock, so I grabbed them before they were gone again. Inside I was doing a little happy dance, since people may stare if I was dancing in the aisles 😉 Who knew such little things could bring such excitement to my day? (again did I mention I am tired and in the middle of writing report cards?).

My favourite weekend flavoured coffee, a caramel cappuccino, was next on the agenda and for 23 RMB for 10 packets it is WAY cheaper than a plain cappuccino at Star Bucks, or any other Western coffee place. A quick glance around and up and down the chocolate aisle (about 3 times) I left and went to get what I came for. First I grabbed some apple chips which are dehydrated apple and great to put in my hot oatmeal. Oatmeal here comes in plain, some purple chestnut, red gogi berry and corn flavours. Yes I did say corn… so I make my own with a little sugar, cinnamon and apple chips. Making my own is much cheaper than buying the Quaker which is shipped in from the US and is sold here for a whopping 30 or 40 RMB  a box (that is about $4.50-$6!). Next was a big container of salad mix which is mixed organic greens and some small tomatoes. The salad mix costs 10RMB ($1.50) and it is a bargain price and good quality. It will last me all week for lunch, so a super cheap meal to beat the heat. The tomatoes were 6.90 RMB, so about $1.00.

DSC03735Today I didn’t buy any meat, so my total purchases were low. Temperatures started to rise yesterday and the humidity levels are stifling already. Lots of rain is forecasted, so the humidity will only get higher. When this kind of heat comes along I can’t eat, so I avoid rich and heavy foods and go for the cool crunchy salads which are much more refreshing. Sometimes I add nuts or chicken, but I already had some at home, so no need to buy more. The total came to 160.60 RMB which is about $24-$25 Canadian.


What are the prices like in your neighbourhood?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, everyday occurances, post a week | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Cost of Shanghai June 2012

Jennifer over at My Sardinian life posted a grocery bill on her blog to show how much some basic items cost at the grocery store. Alyson over at Algarve Blog  did the same, so I thought I should follow suit here in Shanghai. When we first arrived things were cheaper here than at home, unless you wanted to buy Western. A box of pop tarts cost maybe    $1.99 at home, but here they are 42 RMB (renminbi) which is over $6.00! Prices have increased over the last 2 years and salaries have not been able to keep pace with the inflation. Things seem to be about the same cost as home or more sometimes. As my co-teacher says at least I am on a Western Salary and not local salary (which can be 1000 – 3000 RMB for the majority of low wage earners. That is $150-300 a month). Eating out is often cheaper than cooking and staying in. If you look for the 2 for 1 deals then it is definitely cheaper to eat out! We eat at a few local places too and they are less than 120 RMB for the two of us (or under $20 that included drinks and we are stuffed!).

This week I got home late and it was pouring rain. Instead of running the 10 minutes to the store I ordered in dinner and the trusty sherpa delivery guy brings it hot, fast and to your door. The 45 minute estimated wait was only 20 minutes. Element Fresh does free delivery and the food is good and fresh. It is mainly salads and healthy sandwiches and fresh juices. It is a little pricey, but the portions are big so I had enough salad for lunch the next day.

Lafa Bread Salad with Chicken

123 RMB

The cost was 123 RMB for the salad and a fresh mountain cranberry pear ginger juice. About $18.00. Bit much but saves cooking after a long day or going out in the rain. Divide that into 2 meals and not bad value.





Today I went to the grocery store and bought a few things. We shop at Carrefour, a French chain or City Shop which sells mainly western goods from the US and Germany. Carrefour caters to the locals and has a small international section, big meat department, and also sells household items and electronics. It is like a Grocery/Wal-Mart with everything. City Shop is small and is more expensive for most things… you pay big time for the imports.However, they have organic farms so it is better and cheaper to get some of their produce. This is what I got today.

2 bags full

This is all I could carry. I walk to the shops about 1o- 15 minute away. I have a granny trolley, but didn’t think it would be too heavy so I carried these bags. It looked like rain and was thundering so the trolley would have slowed me down.

For 181 RMB ($27) I got some green peppers (2 for 5 RMB about .75c), Organic salad mix (10 RMB or $1.50). Last time I bought this at home it was $4.50. 4 bananas (9 RMB $1.40), German Pretzel fresh-baked (4 RMB .60c), gourmet packet of instant coffee in caramel -YUM (22 RMB for 10 packets $3.30). I usually get Maxwell House Instant and that is between 45-56 RMB for 42 packets, but it is not as tasty. Regular coffee is really expensive and just not the same since you can’t get cream. Chicken, skinless leg slices, I thought they were thin breasts. Oh well it was good and much better than the cheaper stuff I usually get at Carrefour  (21 RMB just over $3). 2 large tomatoes (6 RMB – .90c), apple chips (2 bags, 12 RMB each bag $1.80). They are good as a snack or to put in my instant oatmeal which comes mostly plain. They just added some flavours of oatmeal -some purple chestnut or corn on the cob! I am NOT kidding!, Granola bars (35 RMB $5.25) the most expensive thing usually. I can get a cheaper brand at Carrefour, but didn’t want to walk all the way there in case it rained.  Baked Cheesies these are so yummy and a treat once in a while. Today when you buy one you get one free… I love these little surprises! (45RMB each, but today for 2 $6.75).

What would all this cost at home? Probably a lot more. I know I rarely came away from the grocery store less than $50 at home. It is easy to spend a lot here, but if you are careful it isn’t too bad. So what did you buy today?

Stay tuned for more next weekend… my adventure to the art gallery!


Categories: everyday occurances, post a week | Tags: , , , , , , , ,