Friday, May 1, 2009 ;
7:17 PM
20 Apr

Dh had to leave for Tianjin early in the morning cos he had to work. I brought my parents to the Silk Market since they had been to Beijing before and seen all the sights.

They could've gone to the Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Center for tours but my dad cannot walk much and there'd be a lot of walking if we went for those tours.

Silk Market is really a tourist trap. Although the stores and layout is much better than at the Wholesale market opposite the zoo, I still didn't manage to buy anything.

The clothes and stuff looked pretty enough but I do not feel comfortable buying anything because the prices initially quoted are always sky high, and bargaining is required. Yet, even if I successfully manage to cut the price, I never know if I'd find it even cheaper at the next stall. I don't like this kind of uncertainty and I don't enjoy bargaining actually.

I much prefer to have fixed prices and be assured that the prices are fair. At that time, I don't even know whether I am paying a reasonable amount...

If the goods are really branded like they say, then it would be reasonable, but then, how do I know if it is really genuine, or a fake? Too many uncertainties mar my shopping experience, so I decided not to buy anything.

My mom managed to get herself some good bargains though. It might not be the "right" price but at least she's happy with what she bought. She also got a lot of cute legwarmers for my niece cos my sis likes those but the selection in tropical Spore is not that great. Either that or those imported ones are very expensive.

This is the facade of the Silk Market (秀水街). All the young girls manning each stall are very talented linguistically, I must say! I was very impressed when we walked by each aisle, and they will call out their wares in English. Good English, not like those in Tianjin.

Somehow my dad gives the impression he is English-educated (which he is). But whenever there are other nationalities walking in front or behind us, they can switch languages with ease.

They started talking in French to a French guy in front of me. And they spoke Spanish to a couple behind us. Along another aisle, they were negotiating the prices in Korean and Japanese with 2 different families. Of course, for each language, they learn the standard few phrases, but I felt that was impressive enough!

Certainly, to hear your own native tongue spoken in a foreign land makes you stop and feel more inclined to buy from the ladies. Which is exactly what the tourists did.

Successful sales people need to arm themselves with linguistic skills indeed.

We had lunch at the O'Briens on the 1st floor of Silk Market. Then we went back to the Ascott for the kids' playroom playtime!

After a shower and nap, we brought them to swim at the indoor heated pool, also on the 3rd floor of Ascott. They enjoyed themselves soooo much and we had the entire pool to ourselves the whole time. It was a great feeling. I soaked myself in the hot tub cum jacuzzi as well.

This clip shows ds2 singing loudly the whole time. And ds1 hanging onto the sides cos it was about 1.5m deep there. Both of them don't know how to swim yet, so we just play and splash for hours at any pool or beach, so far.

When they get older and can be in the same class, and we're back in sunny Singapore, I'll get them some swim classes. In future, I need not hold them at the deep side anymore.

Anyway, after a long time of holding both and teaching them how to kick and wade, I spotted the lifesavers hanging along the sides of the pool and got my mom to throw 2 in. Thereafter, the kids could float by themselves, kick to their hearts' content and they enjoyed a lot more than having me close to them. (That feeling is aka independence = freedom = i'm-all-grown-up-now)

For dinner, we ate at the Japanese restaurant in Ascott. My dad doesn't like traditional Japanese food but he enjoyed the stir fry dishes (teppanyaki). We ordered a lot of different stuff, including udon for the kids. We were all stuffed and happy. The food's delicious. And we had a room to ourselves.

It is lovely to travel during off-peak times.

After that, I called the lady masseur again. This time, 2 came, because I wanted to try it out too! :-)
It was very relaxing. I just lay on my bed, had my feet soaked in some herbs and then had the massage. It's supposedly TCM massage (traditional Chinese medicine).

The same lady came, with another co-worker. The lady did the massage for me while her friend did it for my dad, who had it in his own room. The kids and my mom were in the living room, playing cards. I love this apartment. We all have our privacy...

All through the massage, the lady and I talked about our kids again. Then she told me a lot of stories about the SIA girls and stewards, and the pilots too. I must say they were all very interesting... I learnt a lot of stuff I never knew before.

An hour passed very quickly.

After they left, my dad said his feet really improved a lot.

When we returned to Tianjin, I could not find similar masseurs who would come to our house to do it at the same rate! All more expensive! hmmm, it's weird, Beijing being cheaper than Tianjin for such services.

I'm sure my dad will miss that in Singapore. They won't go to your house and they won't charge that little. :-)

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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