This past week a group of us went to a fake market. This is a huge area where people sell goods that are knockoffs of actual brands. It is insane the amount of things that are counterfeit. I have never seen a fake market in my life before, so I am not sure what I was expecting. Let me tell you, it was insane! People are trying to get you to go to their booth by asking you if you need a certain item they are selling or asking what you need. If they catch a small bit of your attention they feel like they have you. They got you on their hook and they begin to pull you towards their booth. Once you are at their booth the “fun” begins. They tell give you a price for an item and then push a calculator at you. They expect you to enter the price into the calculator that you would like to pay for the item. This happens a few times until either you are satisfied or you leave the store.
Doing some research on the whole concept of a fake market has taught me some things about developing countries. In developing countries, many consumers cannot afford international prices. There is no bad stigma attached to knockoffs. International prices may be way more than what they are willing to pay and as a result they are willing to buy a knockoff that looks similar to the real thing.
In some places technology is lacking, like in regards to reforming counterfeit goods. While in other areas the technology is well advanced and even better than the United States. For instance, China has Alipay and WeChat pay. This is where you load money to your account and can easily scan QR codes and simply type in the price you need to pay. Apple pay is the United States’ equivalent. The only thing is, I do not see everyone using it. In China almost everyone uses Alipay and WeChat pay. Even the little food carts on the side of the roads use it.
It is fun to observe how other countries are able to accomplish things especially when it comes to technology. It is way more rewarding to simply take it all in rather than analyze the differences every second. I believe if you are comparing everything you are not able to submerge yourself completely into the culture. I heard a quote recently: “we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, and they should be used that way.” I love this quote because it is saying that we should be listening, taking twice as much information, than what we are putting out.
Everything is going well in my classes and with the rest of my life at the moment. Walking through the streets with a huge bustle of people is normal now. The metro becomes so full that sometimes you have to walk backwards into it and just barely squeeze in. I am not exaggerating. It is a real squeeze on the very busy days! City life is an amazing and fun way to live. Except, deep down I am a small town girl who loves the ocean.
One of the gardens we visited this past weekend.