When I traveled to China I was only allowed to take a suitcase no heavier than 21 kg with me and a hand luggage of 5 kg. For guys, no problem. For girls, “What the heck am I gonna take with me?? *completely desperate*”. For my trip to Korea last year I took half my closet – which was not a good idea because shopping there is just SO awesome: underground market here (mostly at the metro stations), street market there, shopping e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!
So before I started my journey to China I thought deeply about what to take with me. What is really necessary? What can I buy there? I asked some of my Chinese friends, they told me that shopping is really nice and affordable in China. So I made up my mind and only packed what I really needed. I ended up with exactly 21.2 kg for my suitcase and 5.7 kg for my hand luggage (including my laptop which is exempt from the check-in’s weight restrictions). Still I had a bad feeling about it. What if I forget something? I checked my packing list at least ten times and asked friends to read it through and tell me if they thought I had forgotten anything.
Now I’ve been in Zhuhai for one and a half months and I am glad I didn’t bring more. In the underground market you can find whatever you need, to dress for whatever event; clothes, shoes, underwear, make-up, jewelry, nail polish, accessories… and much more. You can even go for a manicure and pedicure. For food, there are a lot of different restaurants, and if you dare you can get a tattoo. The best thing is, everything is so cheap. <3
So what’s the catch? Actually, there are quite a few catches. But the drawbacks depends on your body measurements etc. The worst catch I guess, is that most clothes they offer are all one size. If you are too tall you will have problems finding fitting clothes. Also often you are not allowed to try on the clothes you intend to purchase. You can only guess if they will fit and if they suit you well. Also having shoe size 40 (EU)/9 (US) or bigger as a woman it may be hard to find fitting shoes. A final catch is that you usually cannot pay by credit card in the underground or on the street market, cash is king.
The worst catch for me? Too much choice! I could spend days and hundreds of Euros in these shops. Last weekend I spent around three hours in the Zhuhai underground market – close to the Macau border. Because of my company I was forced to keep it to a minimum. I ended up with 5 new dresses, a pair of shoes, 2 trousers and just a bit less than 500 RMB poorer (58 EUR/80 USD). Yes, girls, already feeling the need to jump off your chair and come over?
In the end I will eventually have another problem, I guess… How will I ever be able to take all those clothes back home with me? Well, I did some thinking about that and my solution is: I will have to fly business class, as I’m allowed double the amount of luggage and having a comfortable seat on the plane. Sounds good to me. I could also just buy another suitcase, but … after saving so much money shopping here I think it is okay to spend some more on the flight. 😀
Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget to find yourself a suitable shopping mate. Nothing is better than spending a day in the underground together: clothes hunting, bargaining with broken Chinese-English, giggling about strange people and gossiping, sipping coffee, eating sushi, going for manicures or pedicures (or both), and afterwards going to the Spa to relax from the exhausting day to feel fresh again. Ready to enjoy the nightlife in your new clothes.
I think I need to go shopping again next weekend. Writing this blog made me hungry for more…
See you and 再见，
Gianna aka Gini aka 吉娜