Thursday, July 24, 2008

Now where do we go?

It's become quite a habit now, that, once a month Mark will get a haircut and then have his shoes cleaned. Of course, I tag along, since the little barber doesn't speak a lick of English and periodically he will try and have a conversation with Mark. At that point, Mark will look at me as if to say, "are you going to help me out here?" I digress.

Afterwards, it's off to get our shoes shined, though I only get mine done in the fall and winter.

We walk down the alleys, where we then come upon a street, where they sell just about everything, from Viagra to fruit. It's the same ritual each time. The ladies who polish your shoes, will point at yours and explain how dirty they are, then you ask how much, they tell you the price, you tell them it's too much, and so begins the process of bartering. Next thing you know, you are sitting on the little chair getting your shoes polished, while the local Chinese gather around to watch and discuss, we assume, how we paid twice as much as the locals. Often we try to listen while a local Chinese is getting their shoes polished, but since we seem to be the source of entertainment, we never find out.

Waiting patiently

Jackpot Laowai's

Local discussing how we just paid double!

Last weekend we go to our street to find it's empty. All the vendors that had stalls in front of the buildings, as well as the ladies who shine our shoes, have disappeared. We were stunned. They were just here a week ago. Now the question is, where do we go?

When talking to my little sister Siew Yih, she said that this is the time of year when China holds a competition for the Best Liveable City, so all the cities do their best to clean up their act. She told me not to worry, they will be back next month once the competition was over.

So today, I went to the street to take some pictures for this post, and find that they are now doing some roadwork. I get the feeling that they won't be back for a long time, and I hope I'm wrong.

We will keep you posted whether we will once again be able to have our shoes polished.

Just when we finally bartered them down to 3RMB!

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