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Sunday, July 2, 2006

Shopping at Spencer's

As we have discovered, Chennai is one of the textile hotbeds of India, and as such, clothing is available in every shape, style and price you can imagine. On our first guided visit, we were brought to a custom tailor, and both Louis and Renaud had some suits made. On the other hand, I only selected a handful of shirts and a pair of pants, as I actually enjoy the shopping process and wanted to see what was available before I made a decision on having a suit made. For some odd reason, I got the definite impression that our guide was getting a kickback from the store we were brought to, and the obvious nature of it made me feel like a bit of a sucker.

Right next to our hotel is a local shopping mall known as Spencer's. It is spread out over 4 floors of shops, with the larger, more known brands located in all of the choice areas on the first and second floor, while every other conceivable space is taken over by small stores all the way down to portable stalls. Brands such as Nike, Reebok, Gap, Guess and more are sold everywhere, and although it is possible to get the real deal, it is also possible to purchase counterfeits of almost any item you might think of. Pirated music and movies is available in several very open stores, and home made food and remedies are available in several others. And did I mention that the mall is just a little bit crowded; there is no way to walk down the halls without literally rubbing shoulders with a thousand strangers.

Fantastic shopping experience to say the least. The prices are beyond believable for practically every item on sale. Only some specific name brands are still unattainably priced, but otherwise, it's a shopping bonanza. Dress shirts for five dollars, pants for ten, belts for three, watches for twenty and the list goes on. There are also several jewellers who sell merchandise of every conceivable type. Over the course of several shopping trips, I purchased several stones to have made into jewellery once I am back home. Although it took quite a sharp eye, and some decent negotiation skills, I have been satisfied with my experience so far.

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