Sep 14, 2006
??? ??, 2007
Steve and I continued our Chengdu pattern of not really achieving anything and took the long way round to our hostel where we spent the rest of the day eating, drinking and watching our hotel room tv that had a national Chinese English-language station. I read up on the entire history of China from the oldest settlements found in Banpo (near Xi'an - never got a chance to visit) through the imperial dynasties, right up to the Communist Party and Chairman Mao.
I got up this morning and the job in hand was to buy a new camera. I had been borrowing my brother Haydn's nice Sony and as you may have read, a freak shower accident left it broken. I had wanted the exact same model but it's not for sale anymore and I set my sights on the next one up. I spent about an hour haggling hard in this huge electronics store that was full of smaller vendors. I realised I was close to the optimum deal which included a nice 1gb memory card and handed over my Visa card. Unbelievably the shop didn't take plastic - hard to imagine that people must hand over thousands of pounds for shiny new laptops in there. So I went out the cash point and was followed by the guy I'd been haggling with - he didn't want to lose his sale but you want some privacy at the cash point especially since my first attempt of a withdrawl rejected! I felt a bead of sweat on my brow as I tried again. Two cash points and several beads of sweat later I had my money, and me and my new friend went of to seal the deal. There doesn't seem to be any concept of personal space in China, you really can't expect to be left alone anywhere.