Another Sunday began with a trip to Pancake Day, a popular Western-style restaurant about a 15-minute walk from our dorms. So far, I’ve tried the apple cinnamon pancakes, French toast, chocolate banana milkshake, very berry smoothie, and the steak sandwich. All have been delicious, and the same four or five of us plan to make fairly regular trips there. (We need some Western food every once in a while, right?)
Afterward, we headed to a vintage market/fair off the West Yan’an Road metro station, but on our way out from Pancake Day, we saw what looked like another vintage market. Seeing even just these few booths definitely made us even more excited for the fair we were going to.
But man, finding this place was not easy. Not only is it quite far away, but once we got off the metro, we got lost for a good 30 minutes trying to find this place. Luckily, we met some extremely nice locals who helped us find the way. First, we walked into what looked like a dental office to ask to use their WiFi. But even with the street number on hand, we simply couldn’t locate this market. The receptionist even walked us out and then went to ask a cashier at Family Mart for which direction we needed to go toward. Still, no luck. Thankfully, City Weekend event pages provide contact numbers, so I pulled out my Nokia phone and called the number given. After talking on the phone IN CHINESE for a good 15 minutes with someone (she really tried to help us but she didn’t know the intersection we were at), we walked back to the station and called her again. We told her where we were, and she told us to just stay where we were and that she would come get us. SUCH NICE PEOPLE.
But here it comes: When she found us, she first asked who she was speaking to on the phone, and then she introduced herself to us…in English. SERIOUSLY? ULTIMATE FACEPALM. I had to ask, “Wait, do you speak English?!” I spoke all that broken Chinese ONLY TO FIND OUT WE COULD’VE SPOKEN IN ENGLISH. Alright, maybe I’m overreacting, but I keep forgetting that many people here actually do know English, since the gaokao (college entrance exam) includes an English section, and people do learn it in school. She also mentioned that my Chinese was “really good.” Jokes.
At least we finally found the market. Since I found out about this market through City Weekend, I was able to get in for free (otherwise, entry is 20 RMB) and expected that my friends would have to pay. But since we were with one of the organizers, she kindly told the receptionist at the market to just forget the fees for my friends, too, making me think how maybe getting lost was a good thing, in the end.
Anyway, I loved the market. We browsed more than 70 booths of vintage and unique items, ranging from jewelry to clothing, shoes to baked goods. A friend and I split a slice of delicious cherry cheese pie (28 RMB), and sampled a mini eclair and carrot cupcake.