Disclaimer: From the beginning of the tour, our tour guide let us know how China works. China was formerly a communist country, but although they are in the process of opening their doors to all things foreign, the state still controls most of everything. For instance, every travel agency in China is owned by the government. The travel agencies in Malaysia, in order to provide tours to China, have to cooperate with these Chinese-government owned agencies and adhere to the travel plans set by the Chinese government. That said, most of the places we were brought to during our five-day trip consisted mostly shopping bazaars, galleries or factories with pushy salespeople- all designed to burn a hole in your pocket and boost China’s GDP.
The first shopping place we were brought to was the Pearl Gallery, minutes away from the summer palace. Government-owned. We were told not to trust any private sellers because they are mostly scams. The government guarantees its products, we were even given a guarantee card upon entering the gallery.
Then came the main or ACTUAL agenda (HAH you cannot trick me, CHINA!)- introduction to the pearl creams! Said to brighten the skin, heal acne and scars, reduce wrinkles and spots and whatever imaginary benefits you’d like to add (Chinese beauty products and their benefits could go on and on)- China’s SK-I, unbeatable by Japan’s SK-II. They pushed the older ladies to buy. They bought. The cream made of pearl and gold (seriously) stinks and smell like chili, but I was told that it’s actually really good.