买电子字典 buying an electronic dictionary

So today I thought it would be a good idea to buy an electronic dictionary to help digest and make sense of the thousands of different characters that I come across each day. The plan was to bike across town and go pick it up at the huge multi-level electronic store and then bike back. But we were hungry, so our plan had to wait as we found a restaurant and ate a quick meal.

We ended up going to a really small restaurant right outside the back gate and I had a really awesome plate of noodles and chicken. Food in China, even really tasty food, is relatively cheap (this plate of noodles cost me about 1.15 USD. So after we finished eating this meal which was really good (the noodles were homemade!) we set off to go get the dictionary.

Hangzhou has a really great public bike system. There are racks of red public bikes on the sides of streets all over town. You can pay a deposit of 300 yuan and receive a card that unlocks bikes all over town that you can ride at your leisure. Once you are done with the card or don’t want to be a part of the program anymore, just return and get your money back (minus some small rental fees). It’s a pretty sweet deal. So we used  two borrowed cards to grab our bikes and start pedaling off in the direction of the electronics store.

Biking across town presented relatively few problems. All the major streets in Hangzhou have wide bike paths on the side of the main road.  These smaller tracks are a safe place to ride your bike off the street, but they are still crowded with other pikes, pedestrians, and tons of mopeds constantly honking at you and flying by. But it is a really cool experience and is (sort of) safe.

What was worse than the traffic was the weather. Earlier in the morning I went out onto our balcony to quickly judge the temperature. It was surprisingly cool and comfortable I erroneously thought the entire day would stay as cool as the morning and decided to wear jeans all day instead of the more logical choice of shorts.  When it came time to bike. I quickly began heating up to almost unbearable temperature and sweating rather embarrassing amounts of sweat (literally drenched).

However, we ended making it to the store and taking the escalator up to the second floor. The place can best be described as a cramped Best Buy on steroids. There were tons of little kiosks with people crowded around and other customers forging their war through the crowds carrying new dvd players, computers, ipads, and tvs. Soon however, we found the kiosk that had the kind of english-chinese dictionaries I wanted.

After playing around with a couple different dictionaries and finally settling on the model that I wanted, it came time to 讨价还价 (bargain). The price was initially 798 yuan. However, Wang Su knew that some other students had bought this same model for 700 yuan last Spring.So we spent the next 45 minutes fighting with the saleswoman and then her superior, trying to knock the price down. We kept going back and forth explaining  that we knew they could sell it for less and them countering by telling us they had no way to lower the price and circumstances had changed. At one point Wang Su whispered that this is just like a 战争 (war) and if you could have seen the woman aggressively pounding the counter or heard the way Wang Su and I raised our voices to (almost) inappropriate levels to tell the woman it was too expensive, you would agree.

However, after about 45 minutes of arguing, they finally budged and I bought the dictionary for 700 yuan. We were victorious. Dictionary in hand we left glowing and biked back to school as champions. This little journey really  tired us out as Wang Su and I collapsed into a sleep coma for the next two hours. But it is was totally worth it for the story, and the actual dictionary which came in handy with my homework tonight.


6 Responses to “买电子字典 buying an electronic dictionary”

  1. 1 Kristin
    July 5, 2010 at 4:06 am

    I am so proud that you won the 战争. You rock, Christopher.

  2. 2 Grace
    July 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    This thing needs a like button. Thank god you know the arts of haggling with Asian people now.

  3. 3 Kitty
    July 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hi Christopher – I was so glad hear you made it safely to China. I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your first few posts in your blog! Please keep them coming – not only can we keep up with how things are going for you, but it also gives me a view of China from your perspective. Good luck with your classes and stay safe!

  4. 5 Katie GN
    July 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I agree with Grace, this needs a like button. I like how the level of your voice was (almost) inappropriate. (Almost).

  5. 6 Ann LeClair
    August 13, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Hey Chris, Just received the blog site from my sister today and am ,as you can see, starting at the very beginning. You have clearly learned a couple of very important lessons already. Am going to enjoy keeping track of your adventures! Have fun, Mrs. L

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