An introduction to haggling – Part 1 – 5th October 2014

I type these past blogs changing my grammar/spelling but apologies for anything that I haven’t changed! I have also embellished a little. But this blog I have renamed and divided into two. 

We (should read just me, it would take another year for Martin) have come a little bit nearer becoming an e-bike owner. I went with a friend (Adrian – the husband of Eleanor’s teacher), to buy an e-bike helmet. Originally it was for me, but I also got one for Eleanor. I have always known I have a small head as my horse riding helmet was VAT free because it was child’s size and when we bought Eleanor’s last skating helmet I realised that both her helmet and mine overlapped in sizes. But in China where buying items of clothing (shoes, bras etc) can be problematic, I did not think that helmet shopping would be an issue.

Oh how wrong. The e-bike accessory shop was on the side of the street, no shop front, just open top the shutter and there is a narrow shop, full of shelves packed with helmets. On the street they had locks, ponchos and everything else you could want for your e-bike. The large helmets were cavernous. They didn’t appear to do medium, and the small – well they were kids sized… and where clearly for kids – they were decorated with cartoon pictures. Pride swallowed I now have a red one and Eleanor a pink one. I have a purple poncho with two hoods to keep us both dry if and when it rains. I also did my first bit of bargaining in Mandarin! While it is important not to accept the first price stated I also didn’t want to do over the businessman either (not so in the fake market!) These people have to make a living too. I used my Chinese and got a £4 equivalent discount. For two helmets, a poncho I paid £40. And reviewing this 4 years later – I think I still paid too much!!! At the time I didn’t think I had done too badly! 

That day I also ventured into a shoe shop. Again same road as the helmet shop, it was a market full of shoes. Of course I hadn’t measured my feet, but about a European 39 was not going to get me far as here they measure your feet in millimetres. I squeezed my feet (think ugly sister – not cinderella) into shoes that were never going to fit me. I eventually happened upon a shop that did 260 size shoes. Black court shoes obtained – I am going to do some work for a colleague in the UK. I duly haggled and got a £2 discount. Not much but confidence is gaining and I am using my Chinese and can BARGUE has Eleanor has now coined bartering/arguing over the price.

Saturday 27th September we went to a Korean boy’s birthday party. We sang (well Eleanor did as did other guests – but not me) Happy Birthday in three languages – Korean,  Chinese and English., had cake (almost like a Victoria sponge), ate pizza and chicken nuggets. There was a magician, bouncy castle and it had the feel of just a normal birthday party – until the party bags were handed out… Skittles, lollypop, sweets and a box of lego. Lego that I had been considering getting as a present! The present had presented its own problems – in that I couldn’t find gift wrap! So Eleanor decorated white paper and she made her own.

From the party we got the bullet train…