Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Zhuhai Shopping

Zhuhai is a good place to go shopping from Macao. Unfortunately, knowing how to read and speak Mandarin (or Cantonese) is essential to exploring the area. This is what you will see right after you exit Chinese customs. Note the red arrows below, which will lead you to the bus stop.

If you want to buy some delicious small mangoes without traveling far, walk in the direction of the market. You can also buy vegetables, fruits and cheap accessories there. Bargaining is necessary unless you wish to pay an exorbitant price.

If they refuse to haggle, try paying the equivalent amount of Renminbi as Macau Patacas or Hong Kong dollars. [This may not work for long as the renminbi keeps appreciating.]

Warning: The Macao authorities do not like you carrying fruits and vegetables into Macao without permit. Raw meat is definitely not welcome. Pirated disks may also bring trouble. Check the law before importing anything.

If you wish to travel by bus, go down to the basement floor and head in the direction of the red arrow. You will find a nicely hidden escalator to an even lower floor.

Hint: Behind the red arrow are many small shops which seem to sell various goods, but are actually money changers in disguise. They will change money with you at a better rate than the shops and the bank. Be wary of counterfeit currency though!

After you head down the escalator, if you wish to travel within Zhuhai, then go straight. If you wish to travel to other cities, then turn to your right. You can buy tickets to travel to other cities. If you cannot pronounce Mandarin or Cantonese properly, it is best to write the Chinese name for the cities to give the note to the receptionist.

If you go straight, you will enter a dark and noisy place. This is the bus stop for local buses. Have Renminbi $1 and 50 cent notes or coins ready as other currencies are not accepted. The bus fare is usually RMB$1.50 for non-airconditioned buses and RMB$2.50 for air-conditioned buses.

The Number 2 sightseeing bus is popular with many tourists because it reaches many tourist attractions.

As you travel, you will see many other bus stops with signs. Unfortunately, the signs are mostly in Chinese. [Note: The van in front of the bus is a postal service (邮政) van.]

Wan Jia Bai Huo (万佳百货) is a good place to shop. They have big juicy Fuji apples at a reasonable price. I bought 5 of them for RMB$10. They also sell many groceries, drinks, clothes, equipment, cooked dishes, such as take-away meals.

If you don't mind some exercise, you only need to walk for around 5 minutes of walking down the big street directly in front of the Gongbei border. This is the view right in front of Wan Jia Bai Huo (万佳百货) leading to the border. The red building with the pointed roof is the Gong Bei (供北) border building.

Bus Route 2 also goes to the Bai Lian Dong (白莲洞) park. I like the water paddle boat but the rest of the park was not that interesting to me. [High voltage lines are running over the lake and spoiling the scenery, but as you know, this is China.]

After traveling past many places on Bus Number 2, you will see the Wan Zai (湾仔) bus station. This is the place to buy many computer parts cheaply.

Along the way, you will see some beggars such as this lady who wrote her life story in front of her. She is a Primary school teacher who came to this place to work in a factory. Her husband left her and her children for another woman. Now she needs money (RMB$280) to travel back home. Would kind people be willing to help?

I am aware that it is likely that these are frauds who are deceiving people. But if you have a kind heart, what to do?

There are still many places in Zhuhai I have not been to, including the Lover's Lane and Fisher-Maiden statue. I regret that I did not have the time to visit them.