Saturday, April 2

Shady deal done and I live to talk about it

I posted the remaining pictures from yesterday on yesterdays blog post.  Please go back and take a gander!

Today in NYC was all about experiences. The entire trip is one huge experience yes, but today was about a hand full of little experiences.

The morning started a little later then first planned. Drew is still trying to shake this bug and I had no desire to wake him. Our days here are long, and he needs his sleep. When we finally got going this morning it was cold and wet out. It rained most of the night and was not letting up anytime soon.
The original plan for today was to go on another bus tour, but this time to do uptown NY. (When you buy your bus pass you choose 24, 48 or 72 hours of riding).  Which as a side note was probably the best purchase we've made - everyone should do the bus tours.  Anyway... we were going to do uptown today but because of the rain we didn't want to sit in the covered part of the bus and not be able to see clearly (the plastic covers are hard to see through because of rain, scratches, and condensation).  So instead we changed our plans and decided to go shopping in Canal street and SOHO.  Canal street leads to Chinatown and this is where I had been prepped ahead of time that my shady deal for knockoff merchandise was going to happen.

I've been anticipating this moment for a while and I was not let down.  OK... so here is how it worked for us.  By the time we got to Canal street both Drew and I were starving.  We were trying to find a place to have lunch so we could go into this with a clear head and not be distracted (I had to be on top of my game).  Once food was consumed we walked back to the end where Canal street begins... what you do is walk down and there is vendor after vendor after vendor of little shops that sell knick knacks, watches, sunglasses (lower end things). And then the streets are speckled with guys who, when you walk past them, say in a very low non-advertising voice "Rolex.   Bags.  Tiffany jewelery." and such.  Then if you want any of these products, they will take you where you need to go.

Drew and I walked up and down the street two times and didn't have a single person talk to us.  We were trying to look 'interested in watches' - don't know exactly what that look is but I was trying my best and failing miserably.  Perhaps I was being too happy/smiley/whatever.  It wasn't working and I was getting no offers.

We were almost at the end of Canal street for the third time when this very short/quite beautiful Asian woman walked up to me and mumbled something at me that I have no idea what it was.  And then she just stared at me.  I kept saying it over and over in my head and couldn't figure out what she said but figured it was probably my chance so I said yes and then she (at the speed of light) turned around and started walking away from us.  We just stood there for a second until she looked over her shoulder and gestured at us to follow her.  This is where the adventure begins.  I am really happy we got a woman because I was slightly intimidated by the ginormous men that were soliciting others.

This woman led us up and around about six blocks before she led us to a small group of about eight other Asian folks standing on the edge of a street. Now it was actually kind of an intricate dance that they all did. Clearly her job was just to bring people to the area and the second she got there it was almost like they tag teamed and a guy came up to us with a laminated sheet of paper with pictures of watches  that we could choose from, then he would leave and bring them back to us.  Once he left, another woman came up to us with the same type of laminated paper of knock-off handbags.  I wasn't terribly interested in the purses so when I told her that she walked away and another woman came up to me, elbow to wrist full of Tiffany's jewelry.  It's like they tag team each other in this swarm of offering. 

 What was so intense was how relentless they were.  If you showed the slightest bit of interest in something they would put the stuff in your hand and walk away until you agreed to pay for it... bartering off and on as they came back and went.  So a necklace that started out at $45 each turned into $15.  When the guy with the watches returned that's when the real bartering fun began... it's not illegal to purchase but it's illegal to sell it.  I was calm, looking at the watches, deciding if I wanted to buy while he was on edge, constantly looking for police and at one point during the negotiations the group of people started yelling short, sharp somethings (in Chinese?) and all of them scattered completely and instantly.  We were just left standing there a little stuuned.  The guy with our watches summoned us from behind a van across the street and we finished our transaction and we were very happy with the end result.

So... I did my shady deal, did not get stabbed, and lived to tell the tale.  One more thing to cross off my bucket list when I get home.

The rest of the day in pictures...

This was us getting ready in the morning... Drew drilled his shoulder into the TV in our sardine can of a hotel room.  Our first injury on vacation.

Day 3!!

There is a store close to our hotel called Daffy's - it's kind of like Winners and has the most amazing stuff.  I was speechless walking through it.  I can't wait to go back tomorrow!  The shoes were little pieces of art.

More shoes at Daffy's. 
Starting the day in the rain!

The roundabout across from Central Park.

Tour guide #2.  He was terrible.  We really were fortunate getting Garret yesterday.

Us off the tour bus heading towards Canal street.

One of the stores in SOHO that we stopped in.

Walking back to Canal street after our shady deal on some street a few blocks away.

We stopped off in Little Italy at a bakery for dessert/snack/treat/reward for surviving our shady deal.

Drew had a chocolate flan and I had tiramisu.

Canal street.  Where the magic happens.

Trying to find our way back to where the tour bus could pick us up.

Chinatown fish market.  Chinatown smells horrible.  And the fish in the fishmarket are very scary looking and still alive.

This guy is loading this entire bag full of crabs and they are not going down without a fight.

Not sure what you do with the head of a fish but doesn't look yummy to me.

This fenced off soccer field smack in the middle of everything.

The graffiti was pretty impressive.

More stuff that doesn't look yummy to me.

Once back on the tour bus I saw a man get arrested and thrown in the police truck.

Tour guide #3.  Also horrible.  

This is what it looks like through the plastic cover when you are on the tour bus and it's raining.

We got off at Rockefeller center.  

This is where I'm going to get my SNL t-shirt.  While here, we spoke to some people about getting SNL tickets.  To which he laughed at us and said "Do you know people started camping out Tuesday night to get tickets?" - he kind of scoffed but said we could try... although he guaranteed we wouldn't get anything.  Not with Elton John on the show.  Maybe we'll try again another time.

Instead we went to Anthropologie.  My favorite store in the world, so I thought.

I was shockingly disappointed with the NY store.  I am happy to report that Edmonton (although our prices are higher initially, our sale section is way better).  I didn't get one single thing from Anthropologie.

Another beautiful park while we were walking from Rockefeller center to Macy's.

Macy's department store.  Which I was excited to go to and found it was meh.  Overpriced and kind of overwhelming.

Although the escalators were cool because they were made of wood!

This is in the fashion district... a giant button with a sewing needle through it. Garret (first tour bus guide) told us it was from Rosie O'Donnell's blouse. 
By 9:00pm we hadn't eaten anything and were both starving. So I went to Maoz (a vegetarian sandwich/salad bar) - the food was the best I think I've had so far. And I recognize that that rating is based on nine hours of starvation previous to eating but it was pretty darn good.

The night sky on our walk back to the hotel.

Last experience of the night - when walking back to the hotel this section of the road was barricaded off for the filming of that movie with Ashton and Halle that we told you about yesterday.  It's a new years eve movie for 2012 so they kept counting down and then the crowd would cheer and wave new years eve paraphernalia.  It was kind of cool. 
And again on return to our hotel room we collapsed into bed... exhausted from another day of adventure.


I am grateful tonight was warmer than it was last night, so walking home was not freezing although we were still wet.

I am grateful I didn't get stabbed during our shady deal.

I am grateful I was able to barter down the watch I wanted to a fair price.

I am grateful I listened to my smart husband and packed my running shoes.

I am grateful for the clothing store Loft that we found on our walk home from Macy's and for the beautiful shirts that Drew got me that were 75% off.  I think I like them even more than Anthropologie.



Leah M said...

Oh!! Such joy!! Shopping and touring and dodgy dudes(and ladies)!! What a great trip! The pics are fantastic!!
Thanks for letting us journey with you.

Amy said...

Shoes!!!!!! Keep them coming ;)
By the way, you look absolutely sensational in every photo. :)

Unknown said...

fish heads, fish heads, rolly polly fish heads, fish heads, fish heads, eat them up yum! lololol love the pics thankyou for posting food pics and shoe pics! I wanna see pics of your shady deal merchandise! Glad your having an awesome time!