20 Summer Days In China by Betty Blunden (1974)

5 September

I have a little shopping to do, some books and a piece of Batik for Zelma. The receptionist at the hotel desk is a beautiful Chinese girl. She comes to my help and advises me to go to the Ocean Terminal. Thelma comes with me and we decide to walk. The Ocean Terminal is a shopping complex that has been built on the wharf where the cruise ships pull in. It was not hard to find but the Indonesian Craft Shop was. The building is two floors high and about a quarter of a mile long. The layout is simple. One walks down the centre and both sides are lined with little shops. Hundreds of little shops all crammed with seductive luxuries. In the course of looking for the batik shop we saw nearly all the other shops. And we were dazzled and I became infected. Had to buy a little jade egg and in a Cambodian Craft shop I could not resist a pair of silver hens. We paused in our search and had coffee in an open coffee shop, sitting by a window that looked over to the island. Then finally we were directed to the batik shop and I had to choose a length from amongst hundreds of beautiful designs. Thelma also bought a couple of pieces. We wandered on, exploring, but if we stopped to look in any window we would be invited to come inside and finally we were anxious to leave the place and get away from all the temptations. What had started as a delightful experience suddenly became too much. Too many expensive ‘useless’ luxuries and too many eager salesman. We were offended by it. We had been warned of the cultural shock and this was it.

That night it was drizzling with rain so the trip up the funicular was called off. I did not feel in the mood for any other outing so went to bed early.