After 7 years living in China, my friends in America gently requested for me to stop buying them fake stuff. How many more nylon Herve Chapelier bag can one take? So I get it. No offense taken.
In my humble opinion, #1 BEST fake market is for sure in the south of China at Shenzhen Louhu. Those vendors do not play. They are the real deal, and if you don’t go in there in the right mindset, they will eat you alive. They grab at you, pull you in, block you in their store and have no shame to follow you from stall to stall to force a sale. Their itty bitty selling space is armed and equipped with trap doors, secret hiding spaces and folks on the “inside” of any whisper of a bust.
That being said, when I was held hostage at one of those shops, I was given a crash course in the “Art of Fakes”. As the vendor blocked the door, she explained to me the different grades, and then demanded to be paid for the “Grade A” Marc Jacobs bag that I merely glanced at for 2 seconds. Somehow I think Qingdao took a wrong turn when the Counterfeit-Powers-that-Be distributed the Grade As and Bs. In fact, a lot of those fakes wouldn’t make a grade at all. As I walked pass the shabby stalls in Jimo Lu, those sad, tired looking Uggs desperately struggled to get noticed. Their combed down polyester fur, skinned up faux- suede, and poorly, painted on labels with Australia spelled with an ‘E,’ begged for attention. Aside from feeling sorry for them and the rest of the girls, it only made me want to leave sooner.
Jimo Lu is dingy, dirty, stinky and not exactly where I want to spend my afternoons. But if you are visiting or living in Qingdao, it is one of those Qingdao institutions you will go to when seeking Chinese souvenirs on the fly.
What Jimo lu is good for is for that one day you just so happen to say, “I’m in the mood to sport a Beatles haircut today without the long term commitment.” Well, then You’re in Luck! They’ve got wigs! And a lot of them for that matter.
During my short lived sewing phase, I actually scored on a lot of sewing supplies here, better than at Taidong.
Looking for pearls? They run the gamet, cheap to outrageously expensive.
Chinese embroidered items, necklaces galore, chotchkes for your kids, come and get it!
A random find at Jimo lu are gift bags, wrapping paper, and tissue paper which for some reason I have trouble finding anywhere else.
Other than that, I’d pace yourself. There is definitely more to see in Qingdao.