When I first went to Beijing in 2010 I learnt of the Silk Road as a place to buy the cheap paraphernalia that is China-themed. The trick was to look up the price on Taobao first and then use that as the amount that you should haggle towards.
My friends told me that everything is fake, haggle. The internals of the building was a sprawl of miniscule cubicle-sized shops overflowing with scarcely stitched together clothing.
Now I’m back and I find the Silk Road has trying new wool to pull over the eyes of tourists. The place has reimagined as a top quality market. The shop sizes have remained the same but the walls: glass, the lighting: LED and the explosion of clothing: almost-organised racks.
Signs explain that bargaining isn’t allowed and that exorbitant profits are not happening here anymore.
A set of five mass produced chopsticks in a crappy paper box. The kind that you can buy for $2-$3 in Japan. Was 1200¥, now 600¥.
600¥! That is about $100 AUD for five pair of chopsticks. That $10 per-stick.
This amazing T-Shirt that Jess wanted.
500¥. Best Price.
I offered 30¥.
I got it too.
I probably still paid too much.