by francine Hardaway on November 22, 2005

At the knockoff market there is something called the “morning price.” It’s the lower price you can bargain for if you are the first customer of the day. The bargaining is like a game in these markets, and only an American tourist would pay what is asked by the merchant. It’s dynamic pricing at its best.

I shop for Christmas gifts and send them back to the US via China Post, an efficient but no inexpensive service. In fact, sending the package back by air so it will arrive before Christmas costs just as much as the gifts themselves.

We eat lunch at a classic Chinese restaurant — large tables, a lazy Susan, and many things we don’t recognize on the tables around us. Duck, duck skin, hot and sour soup, shrimp with a vegetable we can’t identify, and the fattiest pork ribs I’ve ever seen.

After lunch we visit the Bund, which is the riverfront area of Shanghai. On one side of the river are the colonial buildings and the high end shops. On the other side is Pudong — a section of Shanghai developed entirely over the past twenty years. Between them are the barges that remind me of how Shanghai came to be so large in the first place: international business.

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