Over the weekend, Herr Hubby was stuck at work, frazzled with their upcoming hotel opening, so we took the opportunity to grab a couple of our GZ gal pals for a bit of Saturday morning retail therapy at what I call the “Bling Bling Markets”.
Our girlfriends, whom we shall call “Bisous Bisous” (from France) and “Ochan” (from the United States), are expatriates in Guangzhou who speak fluent Mandarin – so I felt extremely confident in this company that we wouldn’t be taken for a ride while at the markets. Both of them also work extremely hard and even though they have lived in Guangzhou for quite some time, Ochan for a year and Bisous Bisous for two years, they had not yet visited the Jade Market, the Pearl Market or other “bling” markets. They were itching to rectify this and I was only too happy to oblige and tag along, so it was obviously a win-win situation for all! Don’t you love it when the stars align and you and your girlfriends can shop together???
Our first stop was the Jade Market in Liwan district, a massive building of about four storeys with interior areas marked into sections A, B, C, D.The entire building was all about one thing: jade. Jewellery from rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets and more jade stuff than you can ever imagine e.g. home decor, Buddhas, animal figurines, statues of all kinds of Chinese celestials, all shapes and sizes and in varying degrees of quality…you name it. A quick peek at the narrow alleys behind this building revealed that there were even more stalls outdoors all selling jade.
Ochan was very friendly and chatty with the locals and according to one elderly gentleman, one can tell the quality of the jade item by their location within the building. So, all stores in section A were selling the best quality, the “purest” jade, section B’s jade had slight defects, section C had “processed” jade while section D…you don’t even want to go to section D. Like plastic, he said. Of course, the old guy could have been perfectly biased, given the fact that he was the proprietor of a shop in section A selling, among other costly things, a statue of China’s mythical monkey king for over RMB 800,000 (approx. USD 130,000 plus) – or, he could have been simply telling the truth.
We walked around and Bisous Bisous got her jade necklace fixed and while at it, decided to buy a lovely jade ring for her mother. We took the elevator upstairs and was amused by this very earnest-looking elevator sign:
And upstairs, also spotted this – so that old guy may have been right after all:
After a while, we crossed the street to a huge pink building which our little guidebook had identified as the Pearl Market. We thought the Jade Market was huge? This Pearl Market was RI-DON-CU-LOUS-ly massive!!! Also, in spite of its name, the merchandise was not limited to pearls. I mean, there were pearls – miles and miles of ropes of ’em – and some oh-so-beautiful ones with some very scary-looking price tags to match. But this market also had container loads of other precious and not-so-precious but still so-pretty-to-look-at gems. Bling central, indeed!
I tell you, we must have trawled through that entire market until we were cross-eyed from gazing at jewelry and gems and until we couldn’t ignore the rumblings of our grumpy stomachs any longer. But of course, we didn’t leave without making a few bling purchases of our own.
So, here’s our loot…ta-da!
My share of the loot (for 6 rings & 1 bracelet) came to a total of RMB 240 (USD38). Can y’all believe that?
So, do you think we had a productive Saturday morning??? Did you like our loot from the “bling bling markets”…WHICH piece do you like best, DO tell?