Very OT: A little run-in with the Chinese Authorities | The Boneyard

Very OT: A little run-in with the Chinese Authorities

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msf22b

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We had a most unusual Chinese experience the other day

We were on a fairly ridiculous Overseas Chinese tour; we do that for kicks..
It's a tour of Beijing, my wife is a native
So why do we do it?

You get to stay at a first-class hotel for the number of days booked, get three meals including a wonderful buffet breakfast, go sightseeing with an excellent guide for about 50 bucks a day, all-inclusive. The kicker: they take you shopping to pre-selected establishments and want you to buy, buy, buy: silk, jade, pearls etc.
The government kicks in as well as those establishments that are private (non-governmental businesses). That's what makes it so cheap.

I still haven't explained why we booked a tour to a place with which we were quite intimately acquainted; well, my son, Matthew and his girlfriend are here, he hasn't been to these places since he was a young kid, and it's her her first time in China also there was no room for them at Mei's brother's flat where we stay, So we went.

There were fine moments: The highlight for me was to push my 75-year old body to the top the Great Wall ahead of anyone in our party (about 1500 vertical); followed by a 12 and 13-year old siblings, their 40-something dad, two young girls from NY, etc. Yeah, Michael.

The area around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City is a zoo with 100's of thousands of tourists (many Chinese), must be seen to be believed, then sadly avoided…certainly not to be attempted at 10 in the morning (the museum is ok). perhaps ok after a snowstorm, during a thunderstorm, in the dead of winter, etc.

The Temple of Heaven and The Summer Palace are more serene but not nearly as much as before' say several thousand.

But the kicker was the Pearl factory, our last shopping venue on the tour. Earlier, we had purchased a set of silk bedding, very fine at reasonable price (not cheap) and Mei had bargained many extras.

As we sat down in a small room for the customary spiel with a 24-year old starting to demonstrate what you can do with Pearls; she had just shown us a ground up Pearl lotion; I joked: sand and goop for $15, when there was loud shouting in the hall (quite frightening), the door was flung open and 4 or 5 policeman barged into the room, ordered the young girl to the floor on her knees and proceeded to tell us (one of 6 or 7 bus tours in the building, that everything for sale in that establishment was fake (they had had a 100 thou sale that very morning) and that all involved were going to be arrested. It was an extensive raid, a few dozen of Beijing's finest, plain-clothes types, paddy-wagons and all.

After an hour's investigation we were deemed innocent, were permitted to go back to our bus and were taken back to the hotel, minus our most pleasant tour guide, Judy, who was marched off for interrogation.

Other's had longer tours or different tours with the company, but for now, they seemed to be still in business, perhaps not for long.
When we looked at the card and publicity material that the Pearl company gave us we noted no name or telephone #…hmmm.
The pearl lotion was indeed the $15 sand and goop of my joke.

A most unusual Beijing experience.

Michael
 
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As you probably know MSF (from your many travels there) that this happens quite often in China. China is the epi-center for fake and counterfeit goods such as watches, electronics, jewelery, clothes, sunglasses, and even knockoff dishware. The Chinese government will usually turn their head for a fee but when that fee is not paid you basically get what you expierienced today.
 

DaddyChoc

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thats no fun... glad to hear you wasnt booked
 

UcMiami

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msf - I went to China this summer for the first time - Beijing and Xian - traveling alone, I booked a private tour which luckily allowed me to specify zero shopping stops. I did not have your excitement, but agree with you assessments of the crowds - I was there at the beginning of July so probably even more crowded and definitely more stiflingly hot. The one place I visited on my own (I had one unguided day in Beijing) was the Mansion of Prince Gong. With you familiarity I assume you have been. While there were still lots of tourists, it was much less crowded than the main attractions.
Arriving in China from Japan with its extraordinary politeness, order, and respect for personal space, and going from China to Vietnam which has the same chaos, but with a greater joy and innocence, I am afraid China suffered badly in the comparison.
 

CL82

NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions - Again!
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Bogus pearls? You mean the Rolex watch I bought in Shanghai for $12 could be a fake?
Nah!
 
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We had a most unusual Chinese experience the other day

We were on a fairly ridiculous Overseas Chinese tour; we do that for kicks..
It's a tour of Beijing, my wife is a native
So why do we do it?

You get to stay at a first-class hotel for the number of days booked, get three meals including a wonderful buffet breakfast, go sightseeing with an excellent guide for about 50 bucks a day, all-inclusive. The kicker: they take you shopping to pre-selected establishments and want you to buy, buy, buy: silk, jade, pearls etc.
The government kicks in as well as those establishments that are private (non-governmental businesses). That's what makes it so cheap.

I still haven't explained why we booked a tour to a place with which we were quite intimately acquainted; well, my son, Matthew and his girlfriend are here, he hasn't been to these places since he was a young kid, and it's her her first time in China also there was no room for them at Mei's brother's flat where we stay, So we went.

There were fine moments: The highlight for me was to push my 75-year old body to the top the Great Wall ahead of anyone in our party (about 1500 vertical); followed by a 12 and 13-year old siblings, their 40-something dad, two young girls from NY, etc. Yeah, Michael.

The area around Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City is a zoo with 100's of thousands of tourists (many Chinese), must be seen to be believed, then sadly avoided…certainly not to be attempted at 10 in the morning (the museum is ok). perhaps ok after a snowstorm, during a thunderstorm, in the dead of winter, etc.

The Temple of Heaven and The Summer Palace are more serene but not nearly as much as before' say several thousand.

But the kicker was the Pearl factory, our last shopping venue on the tour. Earlier, we had purchased a set of silk bedding, very fine at reasonable price (not cheap) and Mei had bargained many extras.

As we sat down in a small room for the customary spiel with a 24-year old starting to demonstrate what you can do with Pearls; she had just shown us a ground up Pearl lotion; I joked: sand and goop for $15, when there was loud shouting in the hall (quite frightening), the door was flung open and 4 or 5 policeman barged into the room, ordered the young girl to the floor on her knees and proceeded to tell us (one of 6 or 7 bus tours in the building, that everything for sale in that establishment was fake (they had had a 100 thou sale that very morning) and that all involved were going to be arrested. It was an extensive raid, a few dozen of Beijing's finest, plain-clothes types, paddy-wagons and all.

After an hour's investigation we were deemed innocent, were permitted to go back to our bus and were taken back to the hotel, minus our most pleasant tour guide, Judy, who was marched off for interrogation.

Other's had longer tours or different tours with the company, but for now, they seemed to be still in business, perhaps not for long.
When we looked at the card and publicity material that the Pearl company gave us we noted no name or telephone #…hmmm.
The pearl lotion was indeed the $15 sand and goop of my joke.

A most unusual Beijing experience.

Michael
The Myth of the honest Chinese salesperson, loved in old movies, has once again been shown for what it is.
One should never travel thinking they are going to another USA or with USA values--hard as it is to believe--most sales people in the USA are honest, elsewhere?? Not so much.
 

Zorro

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Confucious say; Man who buy expensive chronometer in China for cheap better watch out!
 
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Confucious say; Man who buy expensive chronometer in China for cheap better watch out!

Is this the same Confucious who said "He who have affair in pantry get ass in jam"?
 
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