04 December 2006

A TST Story

Today Mai and I went to TST, aka Tsim Sha Tsui. TST is probably one of the busiest and most well known tourist areas in Hong Kong. It is actually on the Kowloon side of HK, right across from Central/Wan Chai on HKIsland. This would make it North-West of where I live. Anyway enough of that mumbo-jumbo.

The trip started off not so well with Mai getting mad at me for not making her toast for breakfast. She gradually got cheerier as she played with her creepydoll and got ready to go. We took the express bus to the Wan Chai ferry-pier where, guess what?!, I embarked on my first ever ferry ride in Hong Kong! It has been 3 months since I've been here, but being the slowest means of transport, I really hadn't ever felt the urge to take a ferry during my work hours, and usually we just take the subway across the harbour. Well today was a nice hazy lazy Sunday, so we took the Star Ferry. It's like 100 years old (not the boat) but the company, and it's the cheapest means of getting across, only $2.2 (about 30 cents CDN). The ride only takes about 5 minutes, but you do have to wait longer than anything else. Mai and I got a window seat, and I attempted to take some photos out the window, but a combination of hazyness and dirty window made for not the ideal situation (good excuse mr photo).

Upon docking in TST, I noticed a very large Swedish vessel parked down the seaside. Turns out it was a Swedish replica of some really old boat. It was pretty cool, but there was a gazzillion people around it so I didn't ask Mai to go for a closer look, as it was shopping time. We went inside the Ocean Terminal, which is a really long mall for Hong Kong (most malls are tall and thing) with lots of little stores almost like a market, but with local and international brands etc. According to Mai's site it's a big department store. Mai bought some tough girl boots, I got a present for her sister, and we also did some wandering and looking. We went to a greasy burger joint in the food court, mmmmm.

From there we went to Nathan Road, which is possibly the best place to be called 'Boss' by at least 20 Indians (what? they're from India) all saying they can get you a suit or a leather jacket for HKD$100. Ya right, high quality I bet. Still it's kind of fun somewhat like the markets in Mexico I remember. Just ignore them and yur fine. We walked down Nathan Road a bit more, then turned to the MTR to go to Mongkok. Why Mongkok again? Because it is possibly the best place ever to shop for everything and anything. My quest, to find a smaller camera bag. Why? Because the luggage I drag around weighs a good tonne loaded up. I need something smaller for just my camera and the basic lens (I say basic because the new lens I'm buying makes the one I have look like garbage). We wandered into Man Shing Photo Supplies. In my search on the net, this was one of the most respected and well known places for giving good deals and not ripping you off with fake shite or grey market stuff. I ended up going with the Lowepro Toploader 65AW. A very nice pro bag, made for SLR's that a slightly large with an average lens. With the new telephoto I'm getting it won't fit, but that's what I have the above mentioned suitcase for.

I got my Camera bag. Woohoo. Something's missing? Yes of course, I'm shopping with Mai and she hasn't bought anything yet in Mongkok (rather I haven't bought her anything yet). The following would make my past associates at Saneal Cameras laugh, but I enjoyed it.

Mai has been asking/bugging/reminding me of this Blythe doll she really wants. And it just so happens it is Christmas soon. I had pretty much made up my mind that I would probably get it for her. We both went into this mallish building that had lots of doll/toy/generally cool stuff, which she goes to weekly now apparantly with her new obession. The doll she wanted was $1500! I bit much for a doll, but not to crazy in terms of how much I was willing to spend on her xmas gift. But I wasn't gonna buy it today for that price. A few stores later, we saw the same doll for quite a bit less. Wow a lot cheaper, must be a good deal. Mai looked at it, and was sure it was real, and looked like she wanted to take it home. I took a business card from the store, and was pretty sure I'd come back and get it for her. Well as we were walking out he sorta convinced me to get it today, in case they sold out which was a good chance as there were only 2 left and it's busy as hell in Mongkok all the time, not to mention XMAS. So I got some money, and said OK, I'll get it today. What's that's you ask? She knows what she's getting for Xmas? Ya it's kind of spoiling the fun, but she doesn't mind, and now I know she'll like it. Here comes the fun part.

Mai had told me she saw the same doll on the Japanese website for $700HKD. Sooooo, I went in with the intention of not payin more than $900 for it. At first I was nice, I told the sales dude that we had seen it a lot cheaper, and would they go any lower.

"Fixed Price" he said.

Pfffffff, nothing is fixed price in China, I thought to myself, and it's not like it's a diamond. So I got a little bit more assertive. I offered him $900, which he kindof laughed at. I said "why not? It's $700 in Japan, there's no way you pad anything close to $999, why not?"

"Fixed Price"

Hmmmm, this guy wasn't budging. I pulled $950 out of my wallet and said here, here's my money give me the doll.

"Sorry, $999"

Man, this guy sucks. I argued with him a bit more, asked if the owner was around, called them bad sales people etc. etc. Had a little more fun.

"Fixed price."

BAHHHHHHHH! Oh well, I paid it, but not without a fight. Now I'm all done shopping, no more spending money. I enjoyed my little "talk" with Mr Tightwallet, and it reminded me of my days as a sales associate at the camera shop in Calgary. It's all about the B.S. hahaha.

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