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October 16, 2005
One disconcerting habit that takes a little getting used to is that an employee will literally follow you around with a basket as you browse through the store and, if you even just pause to look at a piece, tell you the culture and history of items, often with much more detail than you may have initially wanted. But I truly believe it's more well-intentioned than simply high-pressure sales, so try to be good-natured about it.
There is a wide variety of items to be found at the Friendship Store. A good rule of thumb is that if you find something you love, buy it, because you may or may not find it elsewhere. The globes made of different colored polished stones, like lapis lazuli and quartz are particularly beautiful but very heavy. There are cloisonne vases from a couple inches high to several feet high, and if vases aren't your thing, there are cloisonne wall hangings that are vibrantly colorful and quite lovely.
From journal A Weekend in Beijing
April 24, 2001
From journal Beijing, the whirlwind tour