Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What's That? Wednesday: Hongqiao Flower Market

On Valentine’s Day, I had the chance to go to Shanghai with some friends.  I was a bit desperate for some female companionship.  As I told them, I would have been happy just to ride in the car with them to Shanghai and back, but I’m glad that the day was a bit more than a car ride!
First, we made a quick stop at the US Embassy so a friend could pick up some paperwork.  While she was at the Embassy, the rest of us walked through the real Coach store.  I wish I understand more Chinese because I would have loved to have known what the store employees thought of my similarly-designed purse...or maybe I don’t!
We had planned to eat at a Mexican restaurant for lunch.  But, in true Chinese fashion, the restaurant was closed for renovation.  Another expat overheard us discussing our dilemma (she had also planned to eat at the same place) and suggested the Italian place next door or a burger place around the corner.  After a brief sit-down at the Italian restaurant and a discussion about the prices, we ended up at the burger joint.  It was so yummy!  I dare say it was almost like a burger from the US! The owner even spoke English. The best part was the inevitable trip to the bathroom -- the toilet was a sitter and not a squatter!   It was win-win situation!
We ended our day with some shopping. First at a holiday and celebrations store and then I had my first trip to the Hongqiao Flower Market.  I could have spent an entire day, or two, or three, there.  It was almost painful to walk so quickly through the market.  There were stalls of all kinds of household decorations, baking essentials, live fish, candles, pottery, and fresh flowers.
I purchased some new things for the kitchen, but my favorite purchase was a vase of fresh orchids.  I tried to negotiate, but in the end it was a great deal.  This beautiful vase of flowers cost me 35 RMB (just under $6)!  I cannot tell you how excited I am to go back to this little slice of heaven.

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