So…a camera shop… mm… I don’t think so.
John’s pearl shop – Shanghai (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
At the top of the stairs we’re met by the photographer in his studio, decorated with, well… various little sets to pose in… the compulsory love seats with the floral backdrop and something that looks like a temple. We show him the dodgy camera and he disappears into the next room muttering something in Chinese. He returns with a huge pair of pliers and without hesitation yanks off the lens cover to reveal a shattered UV filter underneath. I’m putting all my trust in this guy. He laughs and mutters something again that I don’t understand, but it’s clear the camera still works. Phew! I’m ever so grateful and the photographer graciously sends me on my way… no charge. I’m surprised at this but I wonder if he’s good mates with our new friend.
Mr John, the man in white, shows us the exit but it’s not the way we came in. There it is. His pearls shop. There’s the catch. There’s always a catch….literally in this case.
Travel hint no. 5 – Safety in numbers
After saying no to millions of offers of ‘bargain’ pearls, I walk away with a $50 pair of earrings. John’s been so nice after all! Guilt + kindness = purchase.
“Ok John,” we say. “Where can we get lunch?”
Again we follow him to an upstairs location tucked away above a strip of shops that you wouldn’t know existed. Nice view, but the menu is pretty limited. Nope. Not an option. Next restaurant please. Now we’re seated at a much more suitable place and the food is yummy. Gotta love those dumplings. Mmm mmm. Dammit. Where are my reading glasses? I want to check out the menu to see what’s for dessert! John kindly offers to back-track everywhere we’ve just been; the other restaurant, the stairs, the studio, the alley ways, only to return with nothing. Damn, damn, damn. A busted camera lens and now I can’t see anything clearly. Feeling somewhat annoyed at these little mishaps. John however…. He is a good, kind man. Buying those pearls was worth it. We swap business cards. We’re happy.
View from restaurant above Yu Garden – Shanghai (© Deanna Roberts 2016)
Travel tip no. 6 – Carry a spare pair of glasses.
Turns out I’ve left my glasses on the tour bus… fallen somewhere between those bright red seats no doubt. Ugh. Hate that. I called the bus company… nothing handed in. This is simply a day to lose things… except my cool. That just ain’t gonna happen.
Back seat tourist – Big Bus Tours – Shanghai (© Deanna Roberts 2016)