Chinese Coming Along.. For Shopping

My Chinese is coming along for important things… shopping. While in Beijing, my friend Michelle took me to the Silk Street Market. The web site has a photo of as they call him Bush Senior so it has to be good!  I have been to the Pearl Market on our previous trip so this time the Silk Street and it is my new favorite! WOW! Over 7 floors of.. well stuff! You can find everything and anything and stuff you never knew you needed.

Silk Street Market

In the car, Michelle taught me some key phrases to use when shopping. Our driver found my Chinese lesson very amusing and would laugh often at my pronunciation. There are just some combination of vowels that I have never heard or used before, it is hard and like speaking whale (Finding Nemo) but much quicker.

Here is what I have learned:

How Much Is it? DuoShao Qian

Too Much! Tai Gui Le

Don’t Want Bu  Yao

Here is how it went down in the market. I would find something I liked, and then ask them DuShao Qian, let me tell you, in the heat of it.. I would draw a blank on how to say it but Michelle would feed me my first word in a whisper, like when you forget your script and then the salesperson would go crazy! They were so surprised and shocked that I was able to speak Chinese. It would make a great video for the reaction was the same each time.  The bad part… they would they start speaking to me in Chinese… knowing Chinese is how she said I would get the best prices. After the price they give you which is ridiculously high, I then told them too much in Chinese, they go crazy again! They proceed to tell me how their wares are real silk, good quality and how in the US it is so much money and how they are going to give a me a good price for they work/own the factory or something.. You ignore that and go in with your bottom price where you will be told, they need a serious price, they can’t make any money on that price, I then would talk away and sometimes, I knew my price was crazy low and could come up a little but other times, stayed strong and most times they would come after me and give it to me for that price. It is addicting…

However, there was one time… I told a sales girls it was too much and I was trying to ask her the price… oh well. Practice will make perfect, forget work, I want to go back to the market! It is open till 9pm…


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeffito
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 21:44:50

    I thought “gay-no-chee-na” was how much? Tricky language, be careful!

    For example, while in Hong Kong I thought it would be a good gesture to learn how to say ‘do you need a hand’, as I was working in housekeeping, a role which requires extra help from time to time. So, “sigh-mm-sigh-bon-sow” was ‘do you need a hand’.

    One night while working with 13 men, huddled around a problem in front of the hotel, I thought I’d ask *do you need a hand* in their language…. Well, I said “sigh-mm-sigh-bun-sow”, not “sigh-mm-sigh-bon-sow”, which meant I said “do you need a hand on your little stick” vs. “do you need a hand”. This was the night I decided to just stick to good morning and thank you.

    Proceed with caution. 🙂



    • Rebecca
      Sep 25, 2010 @ 07:28:34

      That is awesome Jeff! 🙂 I am sure I have and will say crazy things as well… Hong Kong I believe speaks Cantonese and Shanghai/Beijing Mandarin. I heard there is around a total of 7 different versions of Chinese spoken all around the country. Even the Chinese have trouble speaking to each other!


      • Manzhi
        Sep 30, 2010 @ 22:33:24

        Actually , each city has own dialect, even in shanghai we speak different dislect , so people can tell what part of shanghai you come from. Pu Dong ? or Pu Xi ?

  2. Shelli Browning
    Sep 25, 2010 @ 08:16:29

    Oh, the perils of speaking in another’s language. I seem to recall something about “I am a Jelly Donut!” from a president…


  3. Andrea Hendry
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 11:44:56

    Sounds to me like we should start placing our orders now to help you with your language practice! That’s a great adventure!


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