Diary of a Shunyi mum is a blog by mum-of-two Deborah Cooper about family life in Beijing. In this post, she checks out the nearly-open Shine Hills shopping centre
I'm not much of a shopper. In fact, I can name ten things right now that I'd prefer to do than spend a day out shopping. One of those is rearranging my sock drawer so you get the picture.
Why then am I looking forward to the opening of Shine Hills shopping centre – better known as Shine City – in Shunyi?
For months now I've had numerous conversations about the rise of this new shopping centre and find myself saying, 'Yes, it’s going to be great! They’ve got a big cinema, Gap’s going in as well as Uniqlo… Oh, and there’s a Starbucks open already'.
It's only later that I think, 'Huh, what am I talking about?'
I don't really understand my excitement, because:
a) I don’t think I'll be racing to see the latest limited movie releases for English-speaking audiences, not when there is Tom’s up the road.
b) I've never bought anything at Gap here in China, and not ever likely to unless I suddenly become size XS.
c) While Uniqlo is where I go to feel welcomed by 20 shouts of huanying guanglin from the shop assistants (ten of those from the same person), it's also one of the few reasons why I venture downtown for shopping. So why stop now?
d) The new Starbucks makes it a total of three within three kilometres. (I note there's also a Costa Coffee and Momo Coffee in Shine Hills, as well as signs suggesting Maan Coffee will appear across the road. And I always thought China was a tea drinking place.)
Nonetheless, I still find myself singing the praises of this new shopping centre, although it seems we're still a little way away from all the shops being open. As of last week, it was still adorned with a huge, decorated Christmas tree at the front and workmen snoozing on their lunch break in the window display of the new Gap store.
That said, there will be a lot of shops. On my walk around, I saw signs for toy stores, mother and baby stores, kids sports stores, a bike store, pet stores, home interior stores, a BHG supermarket and eating places such as Burger King, Häagen-Dazs and Loft Eatalicious (all three of these are open).
It's going to be huge when all the stores are up and running.
A rare appearance
So why do I find myself talking to people about shopping at Shine Hills? I think it's curiosity more than anything. In the expat-heavy area of Shunyi we're surrounded by construction, billboards announcing construction and the rumours of changes to come. Carrefour, anyone?
But in the two-and-a-half years of living in Shunyi, not much has actually changed around me. For nearby shopping, it's always been either Pinnacle Plaza or Euro Plaza.
I find it intriguing that Shine Hills has been the only new option coming to fruition, despite the number of construction cranes in the air.
It leaves me with more questions than answers. I'm fascinated to see how this little part of the greater Beijing area will transform, and how economically viable it will be.
Will it be a vibrant and happening place, or a shell? Who will afford to shop there? And when exactly will I get my first huanying guanglin at Uniqlo?
For now I will wait and watch, and try to contain my excitement - which was very hard to do last week when I spied the shop front signs for 'Jimym Chooe' and 'Caitier'.
That sock drawer may just have to wait.
Shine Hills shopping centre is located at 9 Anxiang Dajie in Shunyi. 安祥大街9号院中粮.祥云小鎭
For information on the Movie Cinema, go to www.osghcinemas.com
Deborah Cooper is an expat wife and mother of two living in Shunyi. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, Deborah and her family began their life as expats in 2005, living in Finland, Germany and now China. In Beijing, she enjoys writing, volunteering her time to charities and running after her two daughters Maddison (11) and Erin (8).
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