Taobao

There’s a website in China called Taobao. It’s similar to Ebay, except that it’s not only individuals selling items, it’s manufacturers also. That means amazing things are available to purchase, and usually at significantly lower prices than we’d pay in the US.

The only difficulty is that it’s all in Chinese characters, and while the Mr. and I are getting better and better with our spoken Mandarin, reading it well enough to trust it with our credit card is just…pushing it. Luckily, a Chinese friend who also speaks English helped us out last weekend, and we ordered some amazing things for the baby and the nursery.

What’s fantastic is that not only did we order all of this stuff on a Sunday, but we had to run to the bank to enable a feature on our account. Yup, the bank was open on a Sunday. Nice. And, moments after we placed orders, we got phone calls from the sellers, confirming things like our address, color preferences, and delivery options. Impressive. Fast forward to noon on Monday, less than 24 hours after ordering, and 1/2 of the items we ordered were at our door.

There’s always the lingering question with name brand items purchased here. Are they real? Are they really good knock-offs?

I ordered an Ergo baby carrier. Rave reviews abound about this thing from Moms everywhere, but it costs over $100 USD on Amazon. I found this bad boy on Taobao. 160 rmb. That’s a little over $26 USD. Hmmmmmm. Would it be the same? Would it be a cheap substitute?

It’s exact. Box, instruction manual, everything. EXACT.

Granted, we couldn’t have done this on our own without the help of our awesome friend, but I think we could manage now with a little google translate. And you can order anything on Taobao. Large size shoes (!!), Hershey’s cocoa powder, a sewing machine, furniture, houseplants….it’s all there.

Hide the credit card! Taobao, you are AMAZING.

Sidenote- the Chinese friend of ours brought over 20 bananas for me. “It’s very good for the baby,” she said. As always, so sweet. But, ummmmm, how does one person (or two, for that matter, the Mr. will help) eat 20 bananas before they turn brown? I could, if I pushed myself, eat…ohhhhh two a day, but that’s 10 days of bananas. They go bad within about five. I’ve already made banana bread, and banana pudding is next. I just hope I don’t give birth to a gorilla.

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The Beijing Beatles

Feeling the need for some live tunes last weekend, we checked out the roster for a cool little joint called VA bar, in the happening hutong ,Wudaoying. Turns out, the “Beijing Beatles” were playing. Sold.

We had our hopes set on an awesome Chinese Beatles knock-off band….perhaps a few giggles.

What we got instead was this:

2 guys from England (Don Lemon and Raul McCarthy), a guy from Australia (Jorge Arrowsmith), and the drummer, Gringo Star, from France. And they were awesome. Not just in a hokey, costume-y way, these guys simply rocked. The lead singer had a fantastic voice, and the rest of the band was insanely good!

Who knew the best Beatles tribute band would be found right here in Beijing?