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Showing posts with label Shopping Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shopping Culture. Show all posts

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Two Valentine's Day Sellers in Jiangmen

I believe it is February 14, which in parts of the world is Valentine's Day.

Tonight on Shengli Road in Jiangmen, I passed two nearby places where people could buy last minute flowers.

selling roses on Valentine's Day in Jiangmen, China



selling flowers on Valentine's Day in Jiangmen, China


The second photo captures intense bargaining. Perhaps some people would prefer their love to pay whatever it takes to get some flowers. In this case, tag team action between the couple sought a better price.

Well played.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Scenes from Piggish Hong Kong Lunar New Year Fairs at Victoria Park and Fa Hui Park

As in the past, Hong Kong recently held Lunar New Year Fairs in 15 locations for a period of seven days. Five years ago I shared a number of scenes from the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair and the Fa Hui Park Lunar New Year Fair in Hong Kong. This year I had the chance to visit both again. Below is a set of photos capturing a variety of scenes from the two fairs. I visited Victoria Park Saturday evening and Fai Hui Park Sunday afternoon just before the Lunar Near Year. In general, the fairs were much as they were five years ago with the exception that were many more pig-themed items for sale — not surprising since it is now Year of the Pig. Like before, the photos capture a variety of stalls and the large crowds. And of course there a few scenes from their respective flower markets. One thing is deliberately missing though. The politically themed stalls at Victoria Park, which I featured five years ago, will appear in a later post.


Fa Hui Park Lunar New Year Fair

entrance to the Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair
One of the entrances to the fair



crowd at the Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair
A dense crowd



covered basketball hoop at the Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair
Basketball is off limits



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall selling stuffed toy animals
Pigs and more



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall
Giant stuffed ancient coins



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall selling stuffed toy pigs
More pigs



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair stall selling stuffed toy pigs



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair Vitasoy food stall
One of the locations to get some fair food



people posing with Ah Tak at the Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair
Ah Tak - the green “keep clean ambassador” for Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department



flowers for sale at the Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair
Some of the many flowers for sale



Fa Hui Lunar New Year Fair flower stall



"Wilted Plants" trash bin
Not all flowers found a home in time



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair

crowd at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair in Hong Kong
Simply making one's way from one side of the aisle to the other through the very dense crowd proved quite challenging.



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair stall selling stuffed toy pigs
Yes, pigs



Kit Da Sketch stall at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair
Some Hong Kong pride



kids trying to pop bubbles
Bubbles abounded



night crowd at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair
Slower than a crawling pace



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair stall



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair stall



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair stall selling a "Star Fuck" shirt
Shirts with messages of some sort



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair "Angry Pig" stall
Putting ladders to use to sell pigs



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair stall selling shower heads



Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair stall selling stuffed toy pigs
One last pig-themed stall



overflowing trash bin at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair
The trash overflowed



flowers for sale at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair
Non-trashy and unwilted colors



flowers for sale at the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair
These flowers sold shortly after I took the photo


And that's all for now. For Lunar New Year Fair photos taken in other locations, last year I visited the Taipei Lunar New Year Festival at Dihua Street and Macau's Lunar New Year Festival at Tap Seac Square.

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Watching Bird in Mong Kok

Having another pair of eyes is often useful . . .

bird watching a watch fixer at the Fa Yuen Market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
At the Fa Yuen Street Market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Game of Xiangqi, a Shop, and a Look Back at 2018's Travels

Soon 2018 will be over in China. For the last post of the year here, it would be hard to top one with another photo of people playing xiangqi. This evening on Mazhou Street (麻洲街) in Zhongshan I stumbled upon a lively game:

men playing a game of xiangqi on Mazhou Street (麻洲街) in Zhongshan, China


The player wearing red slippers had to temporarily leave the game. After all, nobody else was around to take payments at the small convenience store across the street.

small convenience store on Mazhou Street (麻洲街) in Zhongshan, China


For me 2018 began in Taipei, from where in mid-February I made my way to Jiangmen in Guangdong province via Macau and Zhuhai. I spent two months in Jiangmen and of course saw some xianqi games — whether they were during the Lunar New Year or accompanied by various forms of smoking. Then I headed to Yunfu where I explored wonderful karst topography and a historical street. Next, in Zhaoqing I also explored much history and nature. Getting caught up on other matters meant I haven't yet shared much about the city here, though at least I managed to share my impression of the wonton's at a restaurant there with a logo rather similar to McDonald's. Similarly, I didn't manage to post much about Qingyuan, where I saw a rainbow for the first time in a while.

Next I returned to a familiar location, Guangzhou, whose towers provided a stark contrast with my previous recent locations. Then it was on to Hong Kong where I caught some FIFA World Cup football in a mall and, of course, more xiangqi. After Hong Kong, I returned to the land of the Great Firewall and had some peculiar problems using some sites it blocks while I was in Shenzhen, though at least my location had a striking view. I had growing suspicions the issue was quite local. In fact, my problems were resolved after arriving in Huizhou, although the problems were only growing for some ducks there. Once again, catching up on matters and such led to me blogging very little about a city. But such was not the case when I made my way Ganzhou in Jiangxi province. During nearly two months there, I observed much burning during the Hungry Ghost Festival, more rainbows, and, yes, more xiangqi — both during the day and at night.

I then traveled from Ganzhou to Zhuhai by bus, and I finally found some Hot Chicken Wing and Wasabi Oreos to try. After Zhuhai, I moved on to yet another familiar city, Zhongshan, where I have been since. Left out of this account are various days trips I made to Macau, one of which allowed me to see the Macau Lunar New Year Festival.

Personally, some of the most unexpected parts of the year for me was the amount of time I spent in Guangdong province and that I never made it farther north than Ganzhou. On several occasions I planned heading much farther north, including to Shijiazhuang in Hebei province and relatively nearby locations, but life is complex — sort of like a game of xiangqi.

There is so much from the past year I still want to share and write about. Hopefully at least some of that happens later. But now, I will spend the last half hour of 2018 by exploring a tiny bit more.  

Friday, December 28, 2018

Apples, Trees, and Santa Hats: More Christmas Scenes from Zhongshan, China

During this blog's life, I have shared Christmas scenes from a variety of cities in China such as, in chronological order, Wuhan, Putian, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Hong Kong, and Wenzhou. The Wuhan post includes general information about the holiday in China that still largely holds. To complement the scenes of a Christmas Midnight Mass in Zhongshan I recently witnessed this year, below I will share a set of photos capturing some other aspects of how the holiday was celebrated in Zhongshan, even if just for fun with little or no religious connotation. The post isn't as extensive as many of the earlier posts and none of the displays I saw were as elaborate as the somewhat surreal Star Wars Christmas display at a mall in Shanghai several years ago. But they offer a peak at the holiday in yet another city in China.

Not at all surprising, one of the first signs of the holiday I noticed on Christmas Eve night were two young women setting up a display of traditional-in-China Christmas apples in decorative boxes for sale.

young woman setting up a display of Christmas apples in Zhongshan


I wondered about their choice of location in the midst of a small informal night market in front of Fuye Square. All I can say is that just as I was about to walk away they already had potential customers.

young men looking at Christmas apples for sale in Zhongshan


Not very far away on the Qijiang Bridge, I saw more people selling Christmas apples.

Christmas apples for sale on Qijiang Bridge in Zhongshan


At the time they were keeping an eye out for relevant authorities some other vendors thought soon might be on the way to stop such activities.

On the other side of the bridge, the Central Power Plaza shopping mall had a large Christmas tree outside.

Christmas tree at Central Power Plaza in Zhongshan, China


Unsurprisingly, it was a popular location to take photos, including for a group of women wearing Santa hats.

people taking photographs next to a Christmas tree


On the nearby Sun Wen West Road Pedestrian Street, more Santa hats could be found.

two young women wearing Santa hats while walking on the Sun Wen West Road Pedestrian Street in Zhongshan


On Christmas Day, I stopped by Lihe Plaza. In addition to the Christmas tree outside, there were also giant reindeers and a Santa Claus above the main entrance to the shopping mall.

Christmas tree and giant reindeers and Santa Claus at Lihe Plaza in Zhongshan


In one open air pedestrian area there was a market set up with a theme mixing Christmas and Pihotrain — a young Shenzhen-based company with Disney-like ambitions.

Pihotrain Christmas market at Lihe Plaza in Zhongshan, China


Most of the vendors in the market were similar to those I have seen in the same location when the market has had other themes. But at least one vendor added a Christmas touch with decorations.

vendor stall with Santa-themed decorations


And one vendor even added Christmas apples to their selection.

vendor selling jewelry and Christmas apples


We're back to the apples, so this seems like a good time to say, yet again, "that is all", at least for Zhongshan. Some day / year I hope to share past Christmas scenes that never made it here from at least two cities not mentioned above. Until then, enjoy the apples.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Choosing Produce at Two Hypermarkets in Zhongshan

A woman selecting apples one weekday afternoon at the Carrefour in the Xinyue Dasin Metro-Mall (新悦大信新都会):

woman choosing apples at a Carrefour in Zhongshan, China



A woman selecting tomatoes later the same afternoon about 15 km (about 9 miles) away at the Walmart in the Sunshine Mall (太阳城):

woman choosing tomatoes at a Walmart in Zhongshan, China


The surroundings of the two hypermarkets contrast much more the settings inside them. More about that another day.

In the meantime, happy produce hunting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Toys "R" Us Has Its Own Brand of Bottled Water in China

Only two days after its Halloween sale ended on October 31, a Toys "R" Us store in Zhongshan, China, began its Singles Day sale. So would the store begin another holiday sale two days after Singles day on November 11?

I briefly stopped by the store on November 13, and the answer was "no". There wasn't a sale of any variety.

Personally, I found something satisfying in seeing the store sale-free. Perhaps having zero intent to buy anything was a factor. Perhaps it was because I had wondered if they would have already started a seemingly inevitable Christmas sale.

But at least there was still something new which intrigued me, though it might be something I just didn't notice before. To be honest, I haven't ever memorized the store's full inventory.

So, without further ado, here is Toys "R" Us Pure Water:

Toys "R" Us bottled water in China


The 330 ml bottles of water sell for 3 yuan (currently about U.S. 43 cents) each or 5 yuan for two. For comparison, 500 ml bottles of two popular brands of water — one spring water and the other purified water — commonly sell for 2 yuan each at convenience stores in Zhongshan. And cheaper prices can be found at grocery stores.

In the past, Toys "R" Us sold Babies "R" Us Purified Baby Water by the gallon. It included minerals intended to make it better for mixing with infant formula. And Toys "R" Us Canada currently sells Ice River Springs Nursery Water. But what is sold at the Toys "R" Us in Zhongshan is just regular purified water bottled in Jiading, Shanghai. So why would Toys "R" Us sell it? And why would people spend more for it?

I asked a store employee why they were selling water and didn't get anything more meaningful than "no reason". Well, Toys "R" Us most likely does have reasons. It is possible some people desire it and are willing to pay more because of the colorful label or the branding. But other more pragmatic explanations are also possible. For example, Toys "R" Stores I have visited in China typically have some open toys set out such as building blocks that typically involve longer term interactions. Now a parent can take care of their thirst or their child's without needing to the leave the fun. So, there's the possibility of both increased happiness and increased sales.

Whatever the motivations, out of due diligence I sacrificed 3 yuan so I could do a taste test. I can report that Toys "R" Us Pure Water tastes just like water.

I don't expect to buy another bottle. No reason why.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Christmas Trees and Not Quite Thermal Underwear: Signs of the Season at a Walmart in Zhongshan, China

While some retailers in China have moved on from promotions for Halloween to ones for the upcoming Singles Day, others are already bringing attention to holidays more distant in the future. For example, at Zhongshan's only Walmart* Christmas-themed items are now on sale.

Christmas trees for sale at a Walmart in Zhongshan, China


Christmas items for sale at a Walmart in Zhongshan, China


Christmas items for sale at a Walmart in Zhongshan, China


The items immediately greet customers when they enter the store. And near them are indications that although daytime temperatures are still reaching into the low 80s (high 20s in Celsius) the weather in in Zhongshan will get chillier.

jackets on display under "thermal underwear" signs at a Walmart in Zhongshan


However, I don't think those jackets count as thermal underwear. Just to be clear, the problem here isn't one of translation but of categorization. Good luck to anybody trying to wear those jackets under their clothes.

And finally, snow is extremely uncommon in Zhongshan, and rain remains a possibility during winter months. So of course Walmart sells umbrellas as well.

scarves on display under an "umbrellas" sign at a Walmart in Zhongshan


Once again, good luck.




*Not long ago there was another Walmart store, but it is now no more.