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28 June 2005
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KLB - Beijing (7)

It's really a shopper's paradise in China - especially if you're into knockoffs and, let's face reality, who in China isn't? Here is a shot of some of the stuff I picked up the other day near the Holiday Inn. Though you can buy DVDs and CDs pretty much on any corner here, the areas near foreign hotels are the best for other things like Xbox games and "designer" clothes. And, as to be expected, the places are teeming with happy tourists.

Just to give you an idea, the DVDs and Xbox games are $1.15 (10 RMB) no matter where you go. The CDs are about $2. Everything else is negotiable. They start low and go way lower. After a year and a half in China, Jake has become an expert at bartering. He's so good at it that he makes me blush in awkward embarrassment. But he got me those Armani jeans for $15 (down from $30) each, and they have all the name brands: Levis, Diesel, Paper Denim, the works. The Samsonite computer bag, he negotiated from $12 to $7. I also got a really nice leather Polo wallet for $5, all the way down from $15 (Jake burst into laughter at that price). Personally I was ready to pay the first price on most things, but Jake gets a thrill out of arguing in Chinese, so I let him take charge. Anyway, I can't get over the quality of the imitations. The jeans are excellent, even after a few washings. They're pretty much the real deal as far as I can tell. The person who made them probably made the same amount as the person making the real ones, too, at the factory next door.

Everything looks like the orignal. Look at this video game. It's an exact replica, packaging and all, though you should ditch all packaging before leaving China or risk having your new collection confiscated at the airport. I guess CDs are OK. The last time I bought a fake movie in Korea it cost me 9,000 won ($9) and consisted of a poorly photocopied inlay, a regular plastic case, and a plain white DVD-R disk. Not in China, the shit is spot on. I guess except for shoes. They look good too, but according to Jake, they fall apart quickly. Everything is copied here. Jake's going to pick up a bag of Calloway golf clubs before going home for under $100, which I guess is a great price, though I'm no golfer.

I guess some of you have been pretty disappointed with the updating, but hang in there. Because of the sheer enormity of the pictures and material I have to write and post about which is all unrelated to "Korea" Life Blog, I have been working offline on an E-book. I will make it available in a few weeks for download from the KLB bookstore for anyone interested in all this stuff about China, which I have to say is quite interesting. It will have all the photos and all the commentary you're used to seeing here on KLB, but, of course, it will be all about China. Since I may even be here longer than I planned, (it's a damn good time here) it might wind up pretty thick in content. Hang in there and thanks for reading as always!


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