Write-up by Brian Aragon
Photos by Colin Li

A few months ago when Franky Zhang came to California I learned how much he loved shopping. We spent many of our non-skating days driving around looking for different things but one thing he always told me was “Brian, moooooreeee shopping in Beijing”. It was time to see if he was right! 

Franky knew exactly what I was looking for and he had a well devised plan. We left the hotel around 1pm and made our way to some of Franky’s favorite shopping areas around Beijing. Unrecognizable to a foreigner like myself we were soon walking down narrow streets, crowded shopping malls, and buildings that looked more likely to house a drug deal or underground poker game than clothing and accessories. Two lessons that I learned on my previous trips to Shanghai, China was that if you don’t have a guide with you who speaks Chinese you will be taken advantage of and that almost all prices are negotiable. Throughout the day I would tell Franky what I wanted and the negotiations would begin, most ended with a price that was cut in half. Obviously many of the products that are shipped throughout the world are made here in China so many times you can find clothes here that get marked up double or triple when they eventually make it to their destination, California in my case. 

Through the course of the day we hit four different shopping areas, which were all huge. Around 6pm we were all tired from walking and my legs started feeling heavier than skating a full day at Woodward, so much for an off day! We had all built quite the apatite from all the shopping and walking so we found a sushi restaurant and called it a day. In the end Franky was right, “moooorreeeee shopping in Beijing”! 

-Brian Aragon

Check out all live-updates of this tour here.