Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shopping Hysteria

By some strange sort of forces (probably mummistical nature), my relatives somehow learn about my travel to the United States and requests regarding items to purchase started pouring in . They range from cosmetics and perfumes to consumables like jellybeans. Additionally, there are requests from friends alike. I am beginning to feel like an importer somewhat.

With my shopping list, I trudged towards the city of San Francisco. I unfortunately found myself shopping for myself, spending a good TWO plus hours in Forever 21 and H&M. Another half hour was spent in Crate and Barrel, wow-ing at pretty home accessories I do not need. The rest of the time was spent in random shops like Gap, Sephora, Virgin, etc. With my wallet visibly lighter, I met my friend for a burger meal at the gay district of Castro.

For the night, I packed food and visited Shuling who has just arrived in San Francisco. She was seemingly excited about outlet shopping in California, but the targeted place was not accessible by public transport. Instead, I suggested we visit the Great Mall of Milpitas.

Now, shopping in California is very different from Singapore Malls. In Singapore, I can easily walk the whole of Orchard Road. No sweat, ho ho ho all the way. In the States, the shops are huge. Getting from one shop to another is a pain. In Singapore, if I have forgotten to get something from one shop, I would probably take an escalator, walk a hundred steps and viola! Over here, forgetting to get an item from one shop could mean a good 1/2 hour trek. For the first time I was at Gilroy outlet, I actually surrendered to my weariness and GAVE UP browsing all the shops. Yes. I gave up. The whole bloody place was too humongous. It was impossible to finish in a day.

I was secretly sniggering as Shuling expressed her skepticism:

"Great mall doesn't look very interesting leh. Gilroy has more shops leh."

So, forfeiting the opportunity to visit the oyster farm with my host ("Eat oysters Singapore also can do what," says the astute girl), we roused ourselves from slumber, BART-ed and bus-ed our way to the Great Mall.

We started our shopping at around noon and ended a good SEVEN hours later. By then, I was seriously exhausted, this being my 2nd round of shopping. Shuling looked a paradoxical mix of being traumatized (at the prospect of over-expenditure) as well as a pleasantly self-satisfied look.

When we first gotten down the bus on the way here, I pointed at the timeslot on the bus schedule "6.52pm".

Me: Hey, perhaps we could catch the 6.52pm bus back to the BART.
Shuling: 6.52?! So late ah?
Me: Late?
Shuling: Yah, by the time reach hotel already what time? I need to work tomorrow leh.
Me: Oh? Late?

You know me, I am just being practical. I have been there, done that, and I knew that she is probably being clouded by her skeptism. And I was right because as I was sitting at a bench resting my sore feet outside Aeropostale, I glanced at my watch. It said "7.09pm" then. My dear friend was still whimsically flitting from one polo-tee to another, deliberating on her choices.

6.52pm? Late?

As she emerged, I started to tease.

Me: How? Great Mall shops boring ah?
Shuling: Hee hee.
Me: Gilroy is 3 times bigger than Great Mall lor.
Shuling: Wah! Cannot already lah, I spent too much already.
Me: Next time wanna go Gilroy, remember to train yourself at Great Mall first okay?
Shuling: Haaa.

And that concludes our shopping therapy... (or so.. I thought).


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