In honor of black Friday (cough, cough – NOT!) I went shopping. Okay, so in my defense I totally stumbled upon the opportunity and totally didn’t mean to end up shopping. It just kind of happened. I had spent all morning (and half the afternoon) wallowing in my apartment, watching the intersection below for amusement and lounging the day away. Two full days of new adventures had left me exhausted physically and mentally.
However, by 2:30pm, I was tired of the stillness and decided I had the energy to take a bike ride. Thanks to Strava, I have been logging my biking-in-China adventures and have a certain peer-pressure force encouraging me to keep on biking (when my Dad and brother are following my adventures via biking social media, I have to keep moving, right?). And so, off I went.
I had planned to take the same five mile loop from three days earlier, but somehow took a wrong turn.
A wrong turn that landed me directly in front of Starbucks.
I couldn’t get lost better if I had tried. 😉 And on a bitterly cold day, it was a blessed relief to wrap my fingers around a steaming hot cranberry white chocolate mocha (yes, you wish you were in China…you’re missing out!)
Somehow, with my security-blanket-safety-net Starbucks in my hand, I felt adventurous enough to continue my tour on foot: shopping, here I came!
Except that shopping in an Asian culture involves search for the XXL . Talk about demoralizing. Nothing quite like putting on an shirt four sizes bigger than “normal” to ruin the shopping mood. But then I found the most divine pair of shoes. Oh, were they ever gorgeous.
Too bad the saleslady laughed me out of the store when I showed her my foot and asked her for my size. Apparently they don’t sell size 11 in China. But that doesn’t mean she had to laugh me out, does it? DOES IT?!?! Demoralizing experience, take 2.
But with Starbucks in hand, somehow I didn’t mind so much. It all rolled off my back without causing consternation.
Until demoralizing experience – take 3 – happened a few minutes later.
On my way back from the shopping center, I stopped at the cutest little park area to explore the waterways, the kiddie rides, and the zoo. Upon returning to where I’d parked my bike (right next to all the other parked bikes, btw), I found a “parking ticket” wedged into my brake lever. And before I could finish unlocking my bike, I was pounced upon by a ragged older lady with only two words: “You pay! You pay!”
Feigning ignorance (it wasn’t an official parking ticket…the paper was just scribbled letters on it…and I am NOT going to get taken for a spineless foreigner), I jabbered away my questions at her. A Chinese teenager came to my rescue, said a few words to her, handed her a bill (around 70 cents, USD), and said merely “good bye” to me.
Besides, she’s the one who moved my bike. I definitely didn’t park it leaned up against her bike.