Tag: shopping

Happy Singles’ Day! 

Happy Singles’ Day! 

Today is Singles’ Day in China, and that means online shopping! 

It was started around 25 years ago by university students to celebrate being single, sort of an anti Valentine’s Day. The date 11/11 was chosen because of the many ones which represents a single individual. 

Alibaba, the biggest retailer in China has managed to turn it into a huge shopping holiday. If you’re single, you can just buy yourself lots of presents 🙂 That’s pretty clever marketing. Now it’s the biggest online shopping day in the world, bigger than Black Friday. Last year people spent around 18 BILLION US Dollars. 

There are lots of events, deals and advertisements everywhere (for example all over our metro station) and you can get great discounts at many stores. I don’t really need anything but that has never stopped me before 😉 Since Thorben is on a business trip again I might have to buy myself some presents and start getting things for Christmas. 

Saturday shopping: a trip to Shanghai‘s Pearl market 

Saturday shopping: a trip to Shanghai‘s Pearl market 

Yesterday Ellie and I had a major shopping day. The plan was to hit Hongqiao International Pearl City aka the Pearl Market, then head to the fabric market and finish with a quick stop at the trimming market. The first order of business was of course brunch to get our strength up before this big undertaking. We went to Odelice and had yummy French food consisting of galette, croissant, crepes and waffles.

The Pearl Market is a big 3 story building in Hongqiao and a great place to buy all sorts of things. On the first and third story they sell souvenirs, bags, clothes, shoes, movies, belts, sunglasses, phone cases, paintings, rugs … and also have a few tailors. We mostly wandered around on the second floor where they have many many jewelry stores which mostly sell any kind of pearls imaginable. You can also get jade and some other jewels but the main attraction is the pearls.

The Fabric Market, where we have been going to get tailor made clothes (shirts, pants, jeans, coats, dresses), deserves its own post. We need to to a little photo shoot of all the stuff we already got. This time I picked up pants and jeans and ordered another pair of jeans and 2 dresses 🙂

Our last stop was the Yu Gardens Trims & Accessories Market where Ellie wanted to buy some trims for a dress she had tailored at the fabric market. It’s a cool place that sells any kind of button and bead you can think of, trims, shoelaces, ropes, tape … I didn’t buy anything but it’s fun to just walk around and look.

Seoul: A cat cafe visit and other adventures

Seoul: A cat cafe visit and other adventures

Besides doing 5 walking tours, here is some of the other things we did, discovered and experienced in Seoul.

The cat cafe

After having some street food on Sunday, we saw someone dressed as a giant cat advertising for a cat cafe. We’re both dog persons and usually I don’t really like cats but going to a cat cafe still sounded like something you should try 🙂 So we headed over there, changed in the stylish slippers they provided, got our hands disinfected, ordered some tea and continued to hang out with 30 cats. Most of them were pretty lazy and didn’t really want to be pet (see happy cat face below), at least not by me. I finally found the fattest and cutest one to snuggle with. I guess it was just too lazy to move 🙂 Thorben found a few more active ones. So it was pretty fun and I think we might go back to one when we visit Jana in Taipei in October.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

There is an 11 kilometer long stream which runs through the city. From what I read it got covered with concrete at one point and a highway was built there. In 2003 the city started to restore it and it was opened again in 2005. It is below street level and there are lots of trees and greens, so it’s nice for a stroll and to cool off your feet in 🙂 We even saw a heron and lots of little fish.


Korea and Seoul seem to be very popular for shopping so I kind of felt like we had to experience it a bit. We walked around the streets in Myeongdong and it was pretty cool so see all the stores and adverts. Apparently people in Korea don’t think I’m very cute, at least all the cosmetic stores kept trying to get me to go in with promises of free masks and make-up ;). The only thing I was interested in buying was socks. They had so many fun ones! Sadly Thorben said I could only buy 5 (I admit, after I had already bought 4 pairs, so I got a total of 9).

We also headed across the river to the Times Square mall and walked around a bit. I especially liked the food market (surprise), where they had crazy prices for some of the fruit. 38,000 KRW, that’s 28 Euro, for a watermelon, anyone?


The metro system is extensive and the stations are massive, even bigger than in Shanghai. One time we accidentally walked to the next station instead of to the tracks, so I guess at least some are also connected underground. Just getting from an entrance to the tracks takes forever, especially when you switch lines. Also, Korea doesn’t seem to believe in escalators so on top of all the walking we did I also climbed about 3864 steps (rough estimate) in the stations.

It looks like the metro stations also serve as bunkers. They were signs outside pointing to the closest entrance and gas masks and supplies everywhere. I guess it’s good to be prepared but I also found it kind of scary. There are also lots of shops and food places down there, so you could probably survive underground for a while.

Other discoveries

When walking around on our first day we somehow stumbled upon a sort of pro war/pro America demonstration. Again, kind of scary.

Dyeing and curling your hair seems very popular, much more than in Shanghai. Most of the old ladies were rocking a perm. There are make-up advertisements everywhere and we saw more than one person recovering from plastic surgery (trying to hide it under face masks).

1 Euro is around 1300 Korean Won, so taking money out at the ATM made me feel super rich 🙂

Of course we also ate in Seoul, but that’s enough material for another post 🙂


The Avocado Lady

The Avocado Lady

Last week after work I went exploring by myself a bit since Thorben was in Japan. I went to a mystical place I had read about on a couple Shanghai expat blogs  – the store of the Avocado Lady. Apparently she became famous for selling good avocados at a decent price to expats back when they were hard to find /quite expensive. Now she has a lot of fresh veggies and fruit and most importantly imported goods in her store.

When I first saw the stand from the outside it didn’t look very big or very impressive but when I walked in I was amazed at the selection and sheer quantity of products stuffed into the small space. By amazed I mean I wandered around for 20 minutes staring. There are tons of fruit and veggies, herbs, canned goods, hygiene products, cereal, whine, bread, meats, fish, baking supplies, chocolate … and 2 big fridges loaded with dairy products and cheese.

After only 3 weeks my western food cravings weren’t too big but I still got some bagles, cheese, peanut butter and fruit. I’m sure I’ll be back many more times (with Thorben so he can haul my goodies home).

To celebrate this awesome discovery I then went and got a manicure and pedicure :).