Made in China: Shopping

Shanghai is one of the best places to shop. Nanjing Lu alone is home to many malls that house thousands of brands from local names (such as Shanghai Tang) to couture pieces from Western designers. After all, it is one of the world’s busiest shopping streets. Every designer seems to have a store here – from Jean Paul Gaultier to Bottega Veneta. Of course, my family being openly addicted to shopping, we reserved a day just for consumer pleasures.

This part of Nanjing Lu is filled with malls. In fact, all of the buildings you see here are malls!

Shanghai is home to many, if not all, designer labels. There is a portion of Nanjing Lu where it’s just filled with stores and malls teeming with high-end brands. A branch of Louis Vuitton is being constructed here.

The Apple store in Pudong. It’s a huge underground store that has all the Apple products imaginable. It kind of looks like a fortress with all the guards in and around the entrance.

I was excited to hear that there is H&M in Shanghai. Because we don’t have it here in the Philippines, I was eager to shop and buy a scarf. Unfortunately, the one in Nanjing Lu has yet to open so the nearest one was in Huaihai Lu, far from where we were staying. So I ventured on my own to look for the store. I arrived in Huaihai only to realize that I had no idea where it was. So I walked. And walked. And walked. None of the locals knew what I was talking about so I had to brave it on my own. It took me around 30 minutes to find it (the foot massage I had the night before became pointless) and I remember screaming ‘Fuck yeah‘ when I found it. The store is enormous, with three stories but I couldn’t find anything I like. I ended up shopping at Uniqlo where I bought six pairs of colored socks for Y20 (P140) each.

Cheaper finds can be found on Fuyou Lu near the Yuyuan Garden where you can buy anything for less than Y10 (P70). They have clothes, school supplies, jewelry and random knickknacks. It’s indoor and it looks a lot like Divisoria. They even sold the same things.

Culture vultures should check out Dong Tai Lu. They sell really cheap vintage items from Mao posters (and statues and watches and pins and notebooks) to playing cards and old record players and jade stones. It’s paradise for those who crave a culture fix. I definitely went crazy over here. Always go here first because the stuff they sell are cheaper compared to those found anywhere else. I bought a communist hat in Yuyuan Garden for Y65 (P455) only to find a woman trying to sell it to me for Y5 (P35). Always remember to haggle.

It can be tricky to get here because it isn’t on the map but it’s near Nanjing Lu. If you get a map from Pudong Airport, check the mini version at the back. You’ll find it there.

As for books, they are everywhere. Literally. A lot of people are selling it on the streets on carts pulled by bikes. And it’s ridiculously cheap. Most of the books are Y20 (P140) and it’s the same editions (and in English) they sell in bookstores here for P300++. I bought a copy of Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking and the semi-complete Tintin comics from Y250 (P1,750) to Y105 (P735).

Of course, Shanghai has its legitimate bookstores. Most of the good ones are found on Fuzou Lu, popularly known as Culture Street. I walked around on my last night to check the literary scene only to find that most bookstores sold books in Chinese. Also, I’ve noticed that they mainly sold Chinese revolution books. I barely saw Western books. This particular bookstore has seven floors. I also liked the quote on the entrance. I can’t remember the exact words but it talked about how books are related to a country’s progress.

I did find a bilingual bookstore called the Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore with bilingual staff. They were so cute because their tags indicated the languages they spoke. I bought a Chinese history book (something I’ll start collecting besides fashion magazines and postcards) for Y65 (P455). I browsed through it and found it funny because it slightly altered those that made the country look bad. It was sponsored by the government.

My haul:

  • The semi-complete collection of Tintin comics. It didn’t include the Land of the SovietsIn the Congo and Alph-Art probably because of the racial issues
  • A Chairman Mao mini-plate
  • A card I picked up from the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe show
  • A (real) pearl I got for visiting the Jin Mao Tower. My mom thought it was weird that they’d give out free pearls instead of the Oriental Pearl Tower
  • A postcard (something I collect from my travels) of the Pudong skyline
  • A poster of a Shanghai Lady. These ladies are known to be feisty
  • Colored socks from Uniqlo. I only realized that they formed the colors of the rainbow when I got home
  • The May 2011 issue of Vogue China
  • A miniature version of the Oriental Pearl Tower
  • A miniature mug from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
  • A lucky charm I got in Fouyu Lu
  • A book of quotations from Chairman Mao
  • A Chairman Mao notebook with Special Instructions on the cover
  • Chairman Mao pins (or what’s left of them)
  • Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking
  • Common Knowledge About Chinese History
  • A communist hat
  • The May 2011 issue of GQ China
  • The May 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar China

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