How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing Part 8: The Pearl Store and Summer Palace

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Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

We left the hotel at 9:00 a.m.

Upon entering the Pearl building, we were bustled into a small room with folding card chairs. Our pearl instruction lady described the different types of pearls: fresh water and salt water and advised the former as best. The many colors pearls come in surprised me: gold, pink, black for example. She presented round and irregular samples as well as the reasons for the various colors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl

Thank you Microsoft

Thank you Microsoft

After this quickie presentation, we sprinted behind the pearl instructor lady into a larger, showier room featuring thick royal blue carpet and plushier chairs. Models, dressed in formal wear, appeared on the catwalk to showcase and model pearl necklaces and earrings. I wasn’t enthralled, but still astonished by the flashy show, and I cannot lie, the jewelry was gorgeous. The fashion ladies withdrew and The Group 8 were bid to again follow by a forward flourish. With a dramatic pull on a set of double doors, a whole new world materialized:  a magical place, with lights so bright they blinded at first. Rows and rows of glass cases, shiny as the jewels themselves, glittered up and down the aisles. I swear a saleslady appeared for every customer. I noticed only one male clerk. A tour group left as we arrived. The showroom hummed and bustled like a beehive. New sales staff seemed to emerge out of thin air as needed.

Set up in one corner, I noticed a coffee and wine bar with bar chairs. No, nothing here was free to pacify/massage the customer. A list of hefty prices hung on obvious display. Avoiding sales staff who followed you like a shadow is thirsty work, but I wasn’t buying anything. I’ve never cared about pearls and most jewelry my whole life (except earrings). Why would I buy them at this age and at astronomical prices?

Lorena and Bonnie in our group bought jewelry. The remainder of our non-buying members huddled together and made for the door at the first opportunity. We found an unbelievable treasure while we wandered around till everyone finished shopping. The walls displayed every size of oyster shell you never imagined, with plaqued descriptions underneath. However, we weren’t allowed time to peruse this ‘oyster museum’ and were hustled out to the bus. Why? We had to go. The French group had arrived. Service to one tour bus at a time, please and thank you.

See the 'pearled' cream. One is for day, the other night.

 See the ‘pearled’ cream. One is for day, the other night. Amazon sells this too. I checked.

A clerk pushing Pearl skin cream caught my attention and said, “This will make your skin look 20 years younger.”

“Can I have a written guarantee?” I asked.

“Sure.”

Such a quick response. “What good is it if my face is young and the rest of me is sagging?”

“Madam, you can use it all over your body.”

“Look at me,” another clerk piped in. “I’m 70.”

We all tittered because she could not have been a day over 29. I gave her kudos for her quick comeback, though. I hope she’s worth her weight in gold. I bought the cream, didn’t I? What a sucker!

The Summer Palace

The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

                                           The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

I enjoyed our tour of the Summer Palace. The park is enormous (over 700 acres, taken up mostly by Kunming Lake); a peaceful place to spend the day. It has a long, remarkable history. This will give you a better outline and will take less time to take in. Enjoy.

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing/summer.htm    (2.53 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ple6S_pjFzU (l.09 min)

The Marble Boat

                                                                  The Stone Boat

The Men’s and Ladies’ washrooms were again across from each other with a communal sink in between. The ‘facilities’ tiny cubicles with elbow-knocking walls. I don’t take up much room but had a difficult doing the deed. Ouch. Lucky for me, the door I happened upon offered a pedestal toilet. I heard later, the rest were squats. It was dark as well and I could hardly see. You want to watch for puddles on the floor.

Bridge to a point on the water

                                                     Bridge to a point on the water

Quick Facts on Education:

  • Kindergarten is bi-lingual (Chinese and English)
  • Government-paid until age 15
  • School 7:30 to 4:30 p.m. five days per week
  • For better school must pay $6,000 to $12,000 extra per year
  • Sometimes extra classes on Saturdays
  • Music lessons at school (not outside in music school)
  • Beijing has 70 universities
  • University cost for 2 semesters  $3,500 / year
  • College costs $1,700 / year
  • 70-80% Chinese kids go to college in Beijing
  • School vacation in winter 21 days (for travel)
  • Summer vacation in summer (2 months for travel)
  • $40,000 – $50,000 to study in U.S. paid by parents
  • http://news.at0086.com/China-Universities/The-university-fees-in-China.html

 

Up Next on March 10: Beijing Part 9: Olympic Park

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

55 thoughts on “Beijing Part 8: The Pearl Store and Summer Palace

  1. I guess the cream has you looking 29 again Tess?
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  2. This was one of the most lovely stops on your China trip, Tess. I love the ornate boat. And I admit to salivating over the idea of the pearl shop. I only have freshwater pearls, but I do love them. Mega hugs.

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  3. Good salesmen, aren’t they? I love that ship – looks as if it’s carved of alabaster – a wonder it doesn’t sink.

    I think I would have hated the constant hustle, from being pressed to buy to being pressed to move on.
    But what a trip you had!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The boat looks like cement. I don’t know how it floats either. Mostly, the clerk shadow you as if you’d snatch a jewel by putting your hand through the glass case and making a run for it. Ha ha ha.
      Indeed. It was s.o.m.e. trip. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I love the stone boat. How did the pearl cream work? I’d have liked to see the pearl museum but the hard sell would irritate me. I bought lots of fresh water pearls in Pakistan (think they came from Mongolia) and they were incredibly cheap – less than a dollar a strand.

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    • The pearl cream was okay. You could see tiny particles of white (looked like ground pearls) in the cream. Didn’t go on any different than any other smooth cream. I checked Amazon because you know they have everything and now I’m sure they do because they had this cream.
      When we walked into the store, we notice a few sales people. Their numbers grew to shadow every individual. Of course, they probably had the number on the bus before we arrived as well as all the buses before and after us. It was a crafty thing, these apparitions.
      I believe one of the ladies who bought pearls in our group, said something under $200 but I’m no longer sure. She was from Mexico and though the price cheap.

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  5. It’s so clean there really lovely. I love the stone work ground. 🙂

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  6. I especially enjoyed this post and the interesting facts listed at the end of it.

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  7. Great tour, Tess. I love the marble boat. The history of it is amazing.

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  8. What a wonderful day, toilets aside. You are my age and amaze me with your energy. Much better I live vicariously through you!

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    • I hope my energy and verve hold out. I have noticed ‘some’ slowing down in the past 5-1/2 hears. Darn. Not my fault. Must have something to do with WordPress. Right? 😀 😀 😛

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha. No way was I going to miss a thing.
      Later on, one of our tour guides asked the driver to pull into a gas station. He had a bad stomach and warned us not to follow him in. “You won’t like the washrooms here.” I guess they were the trenches of holes in the ground. Nobody had to go or if so, changed their mind.
      Glad to have your aboard. Thaks for reading, Chris.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not one for pearls…but I’d have bought the cream 😆

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  10. I see that cream worked Tess.. I do love pearls and I had a necklace for my 18th birthday which I still have. Would have liked to spend time with the Oyster shells too they are beautiful.. sorry about the toilets.. as always an entertaining and informative post.. love your China.. hugs ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cream worked as well as all the rest. After a month, your skin seems to want a change so a new wonder cream is sought. 😀 I was ticked we couldn’t peruse the room with the shells. It was a fantastic display with all kind of information below each one.
      Lovely to have pearls on your 18th. Special. Of course, they last and last not like cheap jewelry. I wear cheap earring because I tend to lose them.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    It is Saturday and we are off to China.. Beijing specifically with Tess Karlinski. Today the pearl factory and showroom.. would have been in there a while.. and Chinese facilities.. would not have been in there quite so long! As always an informative and entertaining post.. oh and keep an eye out for the pearl cream that takes 20 years off your face and a lifetime out of your wallet! #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ahh pearl cream so that’s why you look so gorgeous ❤

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    • Ha ha ha. Why is it a new cream works some kind of magic for a while and then not. Your skin gets used to it and then it doesn’t work anymore. We get lured into another one with bigger promises. 😀 😛

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  13. My husband bought me some pearls while on a business trip to China. I am also not a big jewellery fan but they are rather lovely. The Chinese are very hard working and do really well at school and college, so I am not surprised at these figures.

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    • Lucky you and what a lovely husband to bring you such a gorgeous gift as pearls. ❤
      For a culture that is 5000 years old, I cannot understand with all their history and knowledge, there are so many poor. So many whom I wonder what they scrabble a living.

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  14. I’m with you on jwely. I have more than I wear and that’s not much. I do have my mother’s pearls.

    So did the cream work? Shall I order some?

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  15. Parts of Greece don’t have pedestal toilets either. While adventuring on the south side of the island of Crete, I was faced with having to use what the US military calls a bomb site. Not pleasant but, at the time, I was glad to have that much.

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    • The squat toilets were also porcelain like our pedestals. What I found was the floors wet, no place to hang your purse, and wearing pants, I had to keep my hems off the floor. Not all floor were wet but lots were. The guide steered us away from anything worse, which I hear there is a lot: trenches of holes. o_O Once of twice he mentioned, “No, not there. You won’t like those washrooms.”

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  16. Great Post Tess. Brilliant contrast with the humour with the face cream… I’m 70!… a killer. And the stunning photographic record of the things you saw.

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  17. No pearls for me either Tess but that skin cream taking 40 or 50 years off? Well give me a vat of that please and thank you. 🙂

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    • Ha ha. The cream price wasn’t extravagant but not cheap either. I find a new face cream works for about a month or so and then you go looking for a new dream. After the pearl cream, I’ve been using Berts Bees face wash and daytime cream. That’s the longest I’ve stuck with any.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Forget the pearls ~ I’d like an afternoon on that stone boat! I can’t count the number of times I scrolled back to the photo. Don’t know why, but it certainly intrigued me. BTW . . . How’s that pearl skin cream working? 🙂 ♥

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    • I don’t know how that boat doesn’t sink. It does draw your eyes to it because it’s such an anomaly.
      Like all creams, I switched to another dream cream. They seem to work for a month or so and then… I’ve been using Berts Bees face products ever since, the longest I’ve stuck with any cream. Maybe I’m not looking for magic anymore because I know there isn’t any. Some things you can’t fight. 😀 😛 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I would have enjoyed the pearl presentation but like you, my jewelry addiction doesn’t include a love for pearls. Now, gotta wonder, did you buy the magic pearl cream to transform you into years younger? LOL. What will they think of next? 🙂 ❤

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  20. Great post, Tess. I didn’t realise that pearls came in different colours, but I probably wouldn’t have bought any either! The toilets sound horrendous, and I am quite shocked that thy still use mostly holes in the ground!!

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  21. Yeah, I’m not a pearl person, either, but the pearl trade must help fund their education! I do own some fresh water pearls of a pinkish color given to me by my friend who lives in Hong Kong.

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  22. I have a set of pearls but don’t tend to wear them. Perhaps I should! Lovely photos I would love to visit China. 🙂

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  23. I remember visiting a factory of man-made pearls (Majorica in Mallorca) when I was about 14. Interesting process although nothing to do with the real stuff. At least they didn’t have cream on sale… It sounds like an interesting day all the same (and lucky you on the toilet front, even with the difficulties). Looking forward to more adventures! Thanks, Tess!

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