Tuesday, October 14, 2008
My landlord proudly told me that over five years ago when he bought the apartment I'm living in now, in Wangjing, there was nothing there except the apartment complex.
And up until recently, getting groceries or any last minute shopping was a logistical nightmare. I either had to shop wherever I happened to be, or take the bus several blocks down to Wangjing Mall. I know it sounds trivial, but it was a hassle.
But not anymore.
Earlier this month, the New World Department Store opened its doors across the street from me. I'd been watching them build it, and then they had to stop construction during the Olympics and Paralympics but then they madly got it open in time for the National Day holiday.
The other day I checked out the supermarket in the basement and was thrilled to see it had a pretty decent selection and was cheaper than the one I usually go to. There's even a good variety of imported foods, from muesli to Korean crackers, Japanese cookies and energy bars.
Then tonight after work I checked out the rest of the department store.
The areas are really sectioned off for different vendors who have their own set of staff and as soon as you approach their section, they immediately welcome you to take a look. It's kind of sad at the moment because there are more staff than customers, but that will change soon.
Name brands range from the international (Nike, Hush Puppies) to national (Li Ning, Vero Moda) and again a decent selection.
One floor had women's wear, including short fur coats that were over 4,000RMB.
On the fifth floor there's the bargain section and already down jackets for the upcoming chilly winter are for sale. The styles aren't that great, but the prices at around 300RMB are almost as good as the deals in Wangfujing.
But that's not all.
There's an entertainment section where kids can play video games or run around a playroom, and even a blind massage place. It's great knowing it's there and not too far to go for a quick rub.
The rest of the shopping complex isn't completed yet -- with places like Pizza Hut, Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks yet to come in.
When that's all done, my neighbourhood will definitely be the it place in Wangjing.
And it's all there, just a hop, skip and a jump. As long as you can cross the crazy traffic first.