OK, today we (Deb, Kenzie and I) walked down the street to what is being referred to as the silk market. Actually, it's more than that... they had clothing of all kinds there, plus accessories such as purses (leather, cloth, vinyl, silk, etc.), sunglasses, jewelry, touristy Chinese trinkets... and it was several floors. I think we only went as high as the fourth or fifth floor.
There is a section in one of the higher floors in the back with beautiful, hand tailored and sewn silk clothes - men's or women's jackets, dresses, shirts - you name it. I was blown away by the embroidery - and once you see these, you'll know what nice silk items are supposed to look like.
This is is a place to barter, with the possible exception of the tailored outfits. Yesterday, our friend Genie showed us how it was done by bartering for a pair of boots for Kenzie... I laughed myself silly (inside) - but she was hilarious and masterful at the same time. Anyone who wants to buy something here, it can be done. Most of the fun is in the bartering. I think as a nation, the US has lost some of its skills - it used to be people bartered all the time for things. Now we are in a place where we either pay the price listed or wait for a sale - and it's rare that anyone in the states will try to get the sales person to knock down the price, unless we are talking something of a higher price, such as a car or house. Or, as I remember it, when I'd go to a flea market and would dicker over the price of something I wanted... now that was fun and exciting. After watching how the Chinese do business, I think Americans as individuals are rather timid in their negotiating skills. And I think I had gotten into that timid zone because it was comfortable and safe.
This afternoon, Roy, Kenzie and Deb went to the zoo in Beijing. It's been marvelous weather here - sunny and mildly warm. I am suffering from no sleep for 4 days straight... so I'm going to take a nap and catch up. Perhaps when we get together with the group for some other tours, I will have recovered my energy and will feel more like doing things. I gave Roy my camera... so hopefully I will post pics here later.
UPDATED early morning Nov 7:
Here are the pics of the Beijing Zoo I promised. If you want to see full size photos, just click on them. The detail is great! it was only 15 Yuan per person, and children were allowed in for free. Roy said it was a huge zoo - they didn't even get to see half of it. But it was a perfect thing to do for Kenzie.