Category: China

The Yellow Cows of Xiang Yang Market

Shanghai’s Xiang Yang Fashion Market is an interesting place of attraction worth anyone’s time.

It is a flea market very much like KL’s Petaling Street. What makes it stands out is that Xiang Yang Market is located on Huai Hai Road, an Orchard Road-like high end fashion street housing some of the most famous international brands including Rolex, Davidoff and Louis Vuitton.

Huai Hai Road – the old French Concession. In the 19th century, France took up this piece of land and build unique French architecture of their own. Today it’s nicknamed Oriental Paris and is a shopping street for rich bastards with serious cash to burn.

Over at Xiang Yang Market, pushy street vendors show total disregard of international copyright laws by shamelessly selling fake copies of their neighbours’ line of luxury goods.

I managed to find some quality stuff here at pretty good bargains. Brand names or not, you gotta admit the workmanship is top-notch and the attention to detail put into these products are impeccable. This set of decorative chopsticks could cost up to RM80 outside, and I snagged them for only RMB30 (RM14).

It’s great as gifts! Ummm… just pretend it’s really expensive if you happen to receive this set of chopsticks from me. 😉

The process of bargaining is pretty much standard.
(1) You spot the item you fancy, and you ask the vendor for the price.
(2) The vendor quote you a price, usually a figure ridiculously expensive for a counterfeit product.
(3) You mentally divide the price he gave you by 6, and suggest that price to him.
(4) He’ll then proceed to give you this face like you insulted his grandmother’s cooking. Smile as you admire his distorted facial expression.
(5) The vendor will give you 20% off his original price. This is your cue to reject him and tell him the final price you’re willing to pay.
(6) Once again he’ll kao peh kao bu and give you a lesson on cost price, selling price and the mechanics of retail. At this point, you walk away telling him you no longer want the product.
(7) Quietly count to ten and chances are, he’ll chase you down giving you the product you want at the price you suggested at (5).

Quality neckties at only RMB20 (RM10) each!
This one says Burberry on the back, but the look and feel of it is as good if not better than the RM80 Emilio Valentino ones I’ve been wearing.

Xiang Yang Market is notorious for this group of people who call themselves Huang Niu (Yellow Cow). These people usually have A-class counterfeit goods stashed away in a hidden showroom nearby – goods that look so authentic, the vendors would get into trouble if they were to put them out for sale in the open. It’s the Huang Niu‘s job to pull potential customers into these secret showrooms.
Trusting these Huang Nius is a great risk to cash-loaded tourists because SOMETIMES these people might take you to a back alley, lock you up and extort money out from you. The local police seems to recognise this problem and signboards like these can be seen everywhere in Xiang Yang Market.

Hunan NAIGHBOURHOOD tell you don’t FELLOW them liaw you still go and FELLOW them!

I went to one of their showrooms because my balls were feeling pretty huge that day. And sure enough, they have fake branded goods that look SO MUCH like the real thing not even Mr Louis Vuitton himself can tell the difference.

As a matter of fact I’m pretty sure Mr Huang himself is actually selling authentic Louis Vuitton handbags.
Why would I know?

If that’s not real you tell me what’s real.

I reckon we should all welcome to there for BISINESS!
Believe it or not, Huang Nius are not just unique to Xiang Yang Market. I was approached by no less than 8 of them whilst walking along Nan Jing Lu, all of them trying to sell me goods of a different kind – Shanghai girls.
These are the kind of people whom you should never trust when you’re out travelling. They’ll promise you Heaven and Earth, but if you follow them they’ll take you to an empty warehouse, beat you up and take all your money from you. Kinda like how suicide bombers were promised 80 virgins in Heaven if they bombed up Bali, but when they blew themselves up they ended up going to Hell watching Hitler, Uday & Qusay Hussein in bikinis.

I was taking photos on the Bund during my last night in Shanghai when I was approached by a middle-aged man offering me fair-skinned Shanghai University students working as prostitutes. I’m not interested. I knew the dangers if I were to trust him. Besides, I’m a good boy. 🙂
Instinctively, I turned the dial on my digital camera and recorded the following interesting piece of conversation.
Watch Kenny Sia being approached by a pimp. (Alternate link for IE users) (WMV format, 5MB, 2mins. In Mandarin with English subtitles.)
Huang Niu: Come have a look! You can have her for 4 hours at 250 yuan only!
Kenny Sia: HA! Are you kidding me? She should be paying ME for sleeping with her.
Damn I wish I’d said that.

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Shanghai 2005

Pearl of the Orient. Paris of the East. The Whore of Asia.

Whatever you call her, it’s undeniable that there’s no other Chinese city that is as unique, romantic and exciting as Shanghai. She’s a victim of the Opium War, a refuge for Jews in World War 2. Communist China was born here. Countless blockbuster movies were made and Jay Chou even wrote a song about her.

Shanghai today is a fast-moving city growing at an extraordinary speed. The city skyline is characterised by futuristic highrise buildings on one side, and breathtakingly beautiful French buildings on the other.
Geographically, the city is divided by the Huangpu River into new Shanghai Pudong and old Shanghai Puxi. The large expat community here usually mispronounced them as Pudding and Pussy.

How a 1.5 hour journey became a 7 minutes – the Maglev Train, faster and cheaper than KLIA Express.

I stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in the internet cafe-deprived Pudong area. At RMB1,400 (RM680) a night, your ass gotta be made of gold to be able to afford staying at this place. Luckily my accomodation was paid for. 😉

The Renaissance hotel chain prides themselves in spicing their interior tastefully with beautiful antique decor, and their Shanghai branch is no different. Check out my Buddhist script (‘fu’) inspired quilt cover.

Waliew. With blankets like these, I sure as hell am not gonna have another nightmare EVER.

Nan Jing Dong Lu. The Orchard Rd/Jalan Bukit Bintang of Shanghai.

Shanghai girls in general are fair-skinned, petite and slender. They are all above average in the looks department and from what I can gather from those young couples canoodling publicly in parks and shopping streets, they tend to be a lot more open-minded and sexually-liberated than most.

Ummm… they were in my line of fire when I took that photo. 😉

That makes Shanghai a certified chio bu heaven. Pity their sense-of-fashion though. I swear I’ve seen more camel toes one day in Shanghai than I have my entire life.

Xin Tian Di. The Boat Quay/Jalan Sultan Ismail of Shanghai.

Still, some Shanghai girls are eager to please, or shall I say, easy to impress. At the expat-frequented pub area of Xin Tian Di, a lot of them young ones would be necking and dirty-dancing with business execs at least 2.5 times their age. Odd, I always thought age and language would form a barrier. Obviously not.

In my humble opinion, I still think Singaporean girls rank number one in the looks department, with Shanghai and South Korean girls coming in a close second. Not trying to butt-polish of course, but whatever lah. Vietnamese girls are also pretty good looking. Too bad they have the face of an angel but the voice of a crow.
I’m just ignorantly generalising of course.

Is that woman wearing her… pyjamas?!

Another thing that irks me about Shanghai is the way people drive. If you think Malaysian drivers were bad, well YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET. Shanghai drivers are BLOODY LUNATICS I tell you. This is probably the only city in the world where traffic lights are useless. To them, green means GO, orange means GO, red means honk 3 times then GO.

Nice to see Shanghai police doing their jobs.

Seriously, Shanghai drivers like to honk so much its like their hands are like permanently attached to the car honk. Every little thing they also honk.
Got cars in front, they honk. Got cars on the side, they honk. At night with absolutely no cars around, they also honk! Forget “Shang Hai Tang”, the sound of cars honking is the official soundtrack to Shanghai.
Click here to watch how Shanghainese drive. (Quicktime MOV format, 7.9MB)

That said, the abundance of excellent pubs and nightspots will keep anyone coming back for more. Imagine sipping Barcardi on the balcony with the amazing riverview of Pudong serving as the backdrop.

It’s heaven. No wonder celebrities who come to Shanghai feel at home mingling around everyday people in the pubs here. Nevermind the fact that a single glass of coke costs a crazy RMB80 (RM38) here.

Bar Rouge on the Bund. The preferred hangout place of celebrities like Faye Wong, Zhang Ziyi and *cough* Kenny Sia.

The best thing I experienced in Shanghai is probably the foot massages.

Shanghainese Foot Reflexology. Best thing to have happened to my feet since Osim iSqueez.

Take it from me. The foot massages are fucking good alright? These are authentic true blue traditional Chinese foot massages, NOT the seedy types where they start by massaging your feet and end up slowly moving their hands up to massage your bird.
From RMB70 a pop, I reckon anyone who’s planning to visit Shanghai should NEVER leave without having their foot massaged.

I don’t know her name but she introduced herself as Number 76, and she gets full marks for daring to put her hands on my forest legs.

Shanghai hasn’t been promoted most positively in movies, but I daresay it’s one of the most amazing cities on Earth.
Attitudes are changing and with the exception of rude and money-minded shop owners, most Shanghainese are friendly, courteous and willing to help. The triads, prostitution and drugs rampant in the 1930s are mostly gone.

Yummylicious Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao

What’s left is a city more romantic than Paris, more cosmopolitan than Hong Kong, and a city that blends East and West so perfectly it’s made it to my most favourite cities in the world alongside Perth and Singapore. I don’t mind living in Shanghai if I had the chance.

Yalah, I just want my foot massages lah.

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