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Day 102 – Mo’ Pants, Mo’ Problems

June 13, 2010

Dateline: Beijing, China – Sunday, June 13, 2010

For the past three and a half months I’ve been alternating between two pairs of pants: brown trousers and khaki cargo convertible pants. Go back and check the pictures. I’ve practically worn through them over the last 102 days. I also haven’t worn anything other than shades of brown.

Because of that, I decided I’d buy a pair of cheap jeans from a local clothing bazaar that’s near Stanlitun called the Yashou Clothing Market. Five floors of clothing madness with little stalls for everything you could ever want from bags to shoes to jewelry. I think every Asian country has one of these, usually near a high end Western-style mall. It’s clothing for the people.

I ended up buying some fake jeans from a girl who all too quickly agreed to my second offer on price. While waiting for my change, I chatted with a Filipino guy who told me, in Tagalog, that I could have paid half. Ah well. That’s the way it goes. I keep thinking, “What am I willing to pay?” instead of “What are they willing to sell it to me for?” While I like to think I’m getting better at this bargaining thing, I’m pretty sure I’m mediocre at best.

I wandered around the mall looking for a t-shirt to go with the two that I’ve been wearing since the beginning of the trip. No dice.

I was reminded why I’m not much of a shopper. By the third store, I just wanted to go online, click though tons of t-shirts, and pick one and have it shipped to me. I wanted to stop walking around, trying to find stores, looking at labels to see if the shirts were blends (not 100% cotton, which takes forever to dry), and waving off sales people. I’m an impatient shopper. I can spend three minutes at most digging through a sales rack before I start to wonder whether it’s all worth it. I have no idea how women do it. I have no idea why they do it for fun.

Perhaps it’s sort of like those guys who think walking around the beach with a metal detector hunting for “treasure” is fun. They’re in it for the discovery and for the thrill of finding something cool and unexpected.

I don’t get those metal detector guys, so I still have no idea what would make it fun. When I shop, I know what I want and I just want someone to give it to me. “Blue t-shirt, blended fabric, medium size, non-hideous picture or logo, right now.” I think this attitude is why I sometimes overpay. If I’ve found something I want, I can’t stomach the idea of walking away from it and having to hunt for it again at some other stand. If you’re not willing to walk away, you end up paying a bit of premium.

For dinner I met Lillian and her friend April at a Taiwanese restaurant near the Worker’s Stadium. It was pouring rain and I ended up putting my rain slicker to good use. I put my camera in my rain coat and totally forgot to take pictures of food. That means I only vaguely remember what we ordered. I do remember it was good.

That’s that. A lazy day tourist day. Nothing to report. Even less to photograph. It’s the privilege of traveling leisurely. You can take days off from sightseeing to do “normal” junk, all without the dread of having to go to work the next day. The price: wearing the same pants and t-shirt combo for 100 straight days.

GALLERY: None. Weren’t you paying attention?

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