Saturday, June 28, 2008

in the maoment

Greg had yesterday off and we had a (Chinese?) laundry list of errands to do downtown. One of them was to find a replacement for our well-loved Chinese teapot in its own basket that I broke last month, so we parked in front of an opium den in Chinatown and went for lunch first. OK, so maybe I've been reading too many spy novels, but after we did eat (not here!) we hit the streets. Eventually we found this place, Bamboo Village, on Pender Street.

It was the most surprising little shop, it seemed to go on for miles and was crammed with the most amazing stuff, plus it had my teapot. At this point I hadn't yet discovered that I'd brought my camera with me so took a few cell phone photos (which actually seemed to suit the slightly seedy charm of the place) of the Maochendise. There were a few tempting items, like Mao t-shirts and messenger bags, but it was the stuff behind glass in the antiques section that particularly attracted me. The statues were inviting but what really rang my chimes were the Mao alarm clocks. I already know what I want for Christmas this year.


Blogger Ilva said...

If I ever come to your parts of the world, pLEASE bring me to this place!

28/6/08 10:42 a.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

Don't ya just love little shops like this? When I was a kid there was a tiny Chinese store across from the Safeway (Yes! In Thompson!). Mum would let me go in and poke around while she did the groceries. No Chairman Mao that I can remember, but I always got a couple of fortune cookies :-)
Love the top two photos.

28/6/08 2:37 p.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

You are so puny! Your cell phone pictures are great! So do you think for the store owners, all that "Maochendise" is tongue and cheek or they just got a good deal on it as a bulk buy?

(my 6yr old passed on a Che Guevara pendant in White Rock yesterday, she ALMOST bought it tho, just because it was all she afford)

28/6/08 8:49 p.m.  
Blogger HMBT said...

Hey you! I love looking at the world through your lens.
Come by my place and pick up your international award for being super fantastic!

29/6/08 4:45 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ilva: Does that mean you're coming to visit? :)

Nadine: This was like one of those little shops only a thousand times better. I was even able to find the rice bowls that we use for our cereal there, soemthing I'd been looking for for quite awhile because the newer Asian shops and supermarkets don't carry them. And the antiques were so great.

Ellen: Puny ~ as in petite and cute? :) Being as tall as I am I aspire to that. (And ha ha ~ I do know what you meant.) And good question. Having talked to the proprietress and seeing what kind of place it is I tend to believe the bulk buy theory, maybe hoping that geeks like me who enjoy that kind of offbeat item may wander in... While there we phoned the boys to see if they'd wear Mao t-shirts just so we could buy something but I guess they're just not as COOL as their parents. :)

HMBT: I did and thank you!

29/6/08 7:06 a.m.  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

Oh I want one of those big hats! I dont know what the proper name is, but they are hanging just behind the red lanterns in the second photo.

29/6/08 7:43 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Jan: I see gardeners of all kinds wearing them now, and they make nice wall decorations, too, don't you think?

29/6/08 7:51 a.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

what a bright sunny day to show off charming buildings!

I had a Mao watch for about 20 minutes - before it stopped permanently. There was a long journey towards manufacturing skill going on in those years...

29/6/08 9:15 a.m.  
Blogger Within Without said...

Cool! Vancouver's such a neat place and to be able to discover something like this -- AND get your teapot -- musta been heaven.

29/6/08 9:44 a.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Back when Mao was still in the Chairman's seat a pokey little shop in Auckland sold his Little Red Book, and stuff by all sorts of "subversive" people.The police kept an eye on it. Truly!

29/6/08 8:54 p.m.  
Blogger kj said...

hey--remember me?!

these shots are really cool. makes me wish i were right there, shopping and browsing away..


29/6/08 9:31 p.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I've been to Chinatown in Vancouver back in the day when I was flying. Really fun - love the Mao alarm clock. I almost dragged a big ceramic Buddha home, but realized what a pain it would be.

30/6/08 8:10 a.m.  
Blogger Donnnnn said...

I'll be there this summer maybe I'll get me some MAOchandise. HA!

Last night I picked up my daughters from the Winterpeg airport which is 'terminally' under construction UGH!! anyway..they were at a wedding in Victoria and had spent the day trapped in the 'Couver airport.

They were 'disoriented' by the 'orientation'. It's peculiar how our most westernly city has the most eastern flavour.

30/6/08 12:56 p.m.  
Blogger San said...

I love places like that. And those clocks are pretty alarming!

30/6/08 1:19 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Hayden: I remember the "Made in China" years too.

WW: I thought of moving in permanently actually...

Dinah: Ha! Weren't we an innocent society back then?

KJ: Come on over and I'll show you the town!

Cynthia: I was actually looking for a small stone Buddha while there, but they were either huge or attached to these really ugly lamps.

Donn: Is the airport air conditioned? I can't remember but it's been HOT here so I hope they survived. As for living in Vancouver, the Asianness isn't even a blip on the radar to us non-Asian locals any more. I can't even remember it changing because it was so gradual. It just IS and seems to be the way it's supposed to be.

San: :)

30/6/08 4:17 p.m.  
Blogger Diva said...

Seedy little shops are top notch. Most of the time you can find anything you'd wish for :)

1/7/08 11:10 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What FUN! I love exploring new little shops. This one looks like a place I could seriously get lost in.

1/7/08 1:12 p.m.  
Blogger Merisi said...

Interesting that there are still Mao busts and statues being sold! I wonder who buys them. ;-)
Hugs from V.,

1/7/08 3:12 p.m.  
Blogger atomicvelvetsigh said...

wow where else to get authentic Maochandise but a cool chinese shop? well for that, we even have a china town in manila where you can browse thru all those weird exotic things down from pins to big lanterns and pots, even food! its so cool..

*wink* i have that little red book too..

2/7/08 10:12 p.m.  
Blogger Melody said...

Cool place.......I want a Mao t-shirt too

3/7/08 5:40 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Diva: ANd I found a couple of other items there I needed, too, like the rice bowls with painted fish that we use as cereal bowls.

Andie: And I did!

Merisi: Beats me. :)

Atomicvelvetsigh: I love the food stores: bins and bins of shapes and textures I can't even identify.

Mel: Meet you there then.

3/7/08 8:05 a.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

I love Chinatown. It's one of the most vibrant parts of Vancouver. I even love Victoria's Chinatown because it supplants the unvibrantness (I think I invented that word) of the rest of Victoria. Life in the streets, it's what all cities should be about.

3/7/08 8:56 a.m.  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

Maow said the chinese cat! Mwhahahahah! And that one: The chinese mouse's name was Mousie Dong! Well....

4/7/08 6:49 p.m.  

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