For some reason the McDonald's nearest to Xiaoxiao's aunty's house was closed... but not to worry! -- there was a Pizza Hut takeaway restaurant right next door. I've been well fed, got some money (I cashed five $20 cheques) to keep me going and, best of all, I've visited the camera shop that I found via eBay China! From what they'd said I was very much expecting a shop covering one floor of the building, but it turns out it is a fairly small office, with a grubby little room complete with grubby table and grubby chairs that we were directed into. I was with Xiaoxiao's aunty but that didn't help very much as we can't really communicate. There was one guy (the boss, I think) that could speak a few phrases but he wasn't really much help.
I pretty much just said "Nikon D70S" and they went away into an equally tiny store room piled high with Nikon boxes and brought out the D70S = 18-70mm lens kit and three other lenses, including a large telephoto model that I guess would likely cost a similar price to the D70S kit! They then left me, so I opened the box, attached the lens, inserted the battery and asked for a CF card. Eventually I got a slow 128MB one but for some really odd reason it wouldn't store more than three exposures on the highest JPEG compression! Half an hour later somebody who knew what he was doing came, took the card and brought it back working. I'm guessing he just formatted it properly -- one card we used to have didn't work if you deleted files from Windows and not the camera, presumably it was a similar problem.
I've read 90% of the manual so I'm fairly confident with how to use the camera so I had no trouble in testing the basics to make sure everything was in order. It took me quite a while to figure out how to enable multi-shot mode where shots are taken continuously (while I hold down the shutter release) until the camera's buffer runs out. I can quite confidently say that the D70S can shoot at almost 3fps and hold four RAW files in the buffer. I'm still seriously impressed and I really can't spot anything odd with the kit (apart from the odd location and iffy service (although it is much nicer to be left alone in a room for ten minutes than it is to stand at one side of a counter while a sales representative fusses over you)). Two warranties were included in the box and they looked to be in order (but I would call Nikon before buying to confirm this and possibly even a serial number on the lens and body) although thinking back I recall them being for Nikon Hong Kong. The location of the warranty doesn't really matter to me, anyway.
The service was actually good, in a way. They were fairly helpful, even calling Nikon to confirm some details for me, and were not at all pushy, which goes down very well with me. I've got the boss' card which I will check out with Nikon (they claim to be a dealer, which I think may be true -- they had nothing in the office but boxes of Nikon gear), as well as looking at their eBay feedback. The price they quoted me was a little higher than the one I got over the 'phone but with some heavy bargaining I'm sure I'll get that sorted in no time. I think the equivalent of GBP600 is what I'm looking to pay with the cost for a PL filter and 2GB Lexar 80x CompactFlash card to go on top (they don't sell this stuff). I've also got another place to check up -- a really big camera market that hopefully Xiaoxiao and I will go to tomorrow.
I'm up at 8:30 tomorrow morning to meet Xiaoxiao at PuDong airport for her flight arriving at 9:55 -- plenty of time considering the plane will be delayed by at least 30 minutes and she will have to make her way through customs and the baggage carousel. I've not yet called anybody in England to let them know I'm here. I now have a Chinese SIM card (a rather expensive RMB110 (about GBP7)!) but can't call internationally with it and I had difficulty explaining what I wanted to do to Xiaoxiao's aunty. I'll probably have gotten in touch with a few people before I post this, but my number is +8613621927525 if you want to call me! I've got a 'phone card with an 0800 number I can let you have the details for too, which makes calling free (just drop my an email and I'll pass the details along).
I'm looking forward to meeting Xiaoxiao and her parents tomorrow but in the meantime I plan on having some of the best sleep I've had in a while thanks to air conditioning. That is if the bug I squished just as I started writing this entry was, in fact, the mosquito that bit me three times while I had a quick two hour nap earlier on!