Miss Gioia

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

How to Buy Antiques in China

First, ask your driver to drop you off at the antiques store or market. We like Radiance in ShunYi because it is 1) nearby and 2) they do not try to raise the price by 200% once they see you are not Chinese. Second, pick out your pieces. Do not hold back if you like something because real antiques are getting harder and harder to find in China. Third, pay for your lovelies. Harder than it seems actually. Why? Because usually you need to pay in cash, and large amounts of cash are sometimes hard to organize, as evidenced by our past weekend's dash.

The Coke Family's Shopping Extravaganza

Day 1: Identify antiques on last day before parents return home. Shipping charges are quite reasonable, so all five coveted pieces are placed on hold with a verbal agreement to buy them once the cash is accumulated. Traipse to Bank of China for withdrawl attempt #1. I am sucessful, but the parents' cards do not work. No worries, we can handle it.

Day 2: Return to BofC with husband (and his card) in tow. My withdrawl works, but Chris forgets his PIN and almost has his card sucked into the depths of China's (ever efficient) banking system.

Day 3: Take smelly taxi to BofC again but neither card works. We can SEE the money, but we cannot GET the money. Despondently return home.

Day 4: Try again. As we stand in line at the BofC, we notice people in front of us struggling. The guy before us types many things before walking away with only 200 kuai. Sure enough, the machine has run out of money just as we walk up. Luckily, the Bank of Beijing next door worked fine. Phew!

Day 5: To be continued..... If all goes well tomorrow, then we will be done funding this round of purchases. Given our recent track record, however, I say our odds of success are about 50/50.

UPDATE - It worked! The Coke antiques are being shipped now, and a picture of our new addition will be shared as soon as it is delivered.

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