Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas shopping in China or why I have no presents yet.

I've spent almost every morning this week working on Christmas shopping.  Big gifts?  Expensive gifts?  No-that is just how long it takes me to get things done here.
The first morning, Elisabeth and I took the bus to Wu Ai  五爱(Five loves) market.  This is one of the biggest markets in China-it takes up several city blocks and is big and exciting and can be very fun.  We wandered around  the shoes, the yarn, the scarves and more and then found ourselves in the Christmas section.

Yes, it's all sparkle, all Santa and quickly blends into Chinese New Year stuff. No Nativity, no religious symbolism. We bought a few stocking stuffer type things and headed home in a taxi.

The next day, I went to the library to study and then to Carre Four to buy our Christmas tree.  Last year we had a scrawny and pitiful tree.  This year, I had a gift card from the speaking contest I was in.  I went over and bought this tree....for about $28.00! I still miss having a fresh tree..completely unavailable in this deforested country. 

The cat was most helpful with the lights.....and continues to be fascinated and tempted by it!

The next day, I took off on my bike to look for a store where I bought some DVD's last year.  Despite the freezing weather and snow flurries, I pressed on.  No store.  Gone.  So I rode over to a different store where I successfully bought gifts last year.  Also gone.  So I gave up and went home before my fingers froze off.
I did however, tear my gloves off for one minute to take this picture.

Today, Elisabeth and I took a taxi to Tai Yuan Jie.  This is also a fun mall that has expensive department stores on the surface and a fun underground market full of cheap stuff.
We started out the morning well at Starbucks-yes, we have a Starbucks here.

Yes, Starbucks is pretty much the same here.  Even the prices.  It is a nice touch of home on occasion.

We walked on the mall toward H&M and saw these windows decorated for Christmas.

Lot's of American products on sale.

Love Her.  Love Haagen Dazs.  Word!

Of course, the requisite "Engrish" ad!

This is  a couple walking towards the underground market.  He is carrying her purse.  It's common here for men to carry their wives/girlfriend's purses.

So, am I finished?  Not even close!  I'll be taking off again in the morning to finish.  I have no Christmas wrapping paper, major gifts for my daughter or small gifts for my husband.  I do, however, understand the gift that was given to us in the incarnation and even if I don't finish shopping tomorrow...that will be enough!

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