For reasons we shall not discuss (mainly because they make me look bad) I didn't go shopping for Amy until the Saturday before Christmas. Now really I'm not that bad a guy. Amy kept pretty mum about what she wanted, she holds the money, and Christmas really snuck up on the both of us. It just hasn't felt like Christmastime in Shanghai.
On Saturday I decided that as a present I would take her shopping. I usually do this for her birthday as she really likes shopping and it is so much better to let her pick out what she wants than to have me try to guess and get it wrong. And get the wrong size.
Out towards the river there is a mall - a Superbrand Mall - which is really super. Super big anyways. Seriously the place is gigantic. Think Mall of America without the playgrounds and night clubs. It is all about the shopping. No frills.
I half expected the place to be super packed too what with the pretty significant amount of ex-pats living in Pudong and this being the Saturday before Christmas but it wasn't bad. I mean it was crowded, but Superbrand is always crowded on a Saturday. It wasn't any more crowded than normal.
There are like seven floors to the place and we hit them all in time. Amy loves clothes and so we hit tons of shops. I am very much a man when it comes to shopping. I go to the store with something in mind, I find that object and I leave. I don't believe I have actually been clothes shopping this decade.
Now I'm not saying I'm still wearing clothes from the 90s (well not too many anyways.) My wife and my mother-in-law see to it that I get clothes on my birthday and Christmas. Sometimes while I am with my wife shopping I'll swing by the men's sections and if I see something I like that is on sale I'll buy it. I just don't specifically go to a store looking for clothes by myself.
My wife though, she is a shopper. She loves it. She loves looking at every single piece of clothing on every single rack in every single store. Generally I get cranky after about two racks. But since it was Christmas time and this was her present I bit my tongue.
For seven hours.
That's right we shopped for seven hours straight. That's a record for me. That's insane really. Who shops for seven hours? Crazy people that's who. Crazy people and husbands who haven't bought their wife a Christmas present by December 23.
While we were in the mall we ran into three separate groups of friends. Understand Shanghai has 18 million people or so. I might know 100 of those people. Factor that in your calculator and the percentages get a little crazy. Still, I run into people all the time in this city.
It isn't quite as freaky as that sounds. I live in Pudong which cuts the 18 million to about 1 million. I'm also a westerner who goes to western places. We often dine at restaurants that have American type meals and hit shops with American type goods. So do my friends. And we usually go after school when the people we know would be out.
Still it is weird to see someone you know so often in such a big city.
In Superbrand that day we saw two guy friends who were shopping for their wives. Later we saw their wives who were independently there. Then later I saw my sister and her husband and a friend.
I'll say it again, it is a small world.