Monday, August 8, 2011


Shopping; you either love it or hate it! I usually enjoy shopping, but here, it can be very frustrating.
It isn’t easy! With no car, we need to think about what we buy: can we carry it? Will it fit on the crowded subway? Will it fit in a taxi? Should we have it delivered?
Last week I spent over half an hour having the benefits of 2 printers explained to me. I finally selected one. "Oh, we don't have that one in stock" says he. Ok, I'll take the other one, it doesn't really matter. Off he goes to the stockroom. Ten minutes later, "We don't have that one either"

In clothes shops, the assistants follow me around, trying to be attentive but making me feel like a master criminal. I'm honestly NOT going to steal that teeny weeny size 6 dress! I feel like shouting "Boo!" really loudly as they creep up beside me. The market traders are not so silent, they force goods onto likely (and unlikely) customers, frantically gesturing and reducing the price until it would seem like a kindness to relieve them of that bolt of best Irish pure linen, special non crushing variety, or extra special Dead Sea face cream at special price just for today only. My particular pet hate is the Indian street hawker, smartly dressed, offering copy handbag, copy watch, tailor made suit ...but only ever accosting white people . Isn't that some kind of racism?

Now a go at the supermarkets...

We get used to a brand of teabags in a red box, but after buying them twice, they suddenly don't stock them anymore! " Only yellow box or green box now, sorry.
Tuesday, I might see prawns, scallops, and clams aplenty, but I may already have bought pork chops. So I think, I'll get them tomorrow, do a nice seafood linguine. Wednesday, none. Zero. Zilch. Hastily rearrange the menu in favour of oh, lets say tilapia, which they didn't have on Tuesday. On Thursday, I go for milk...shelves GROANING with....prawns, scallops and clams. Still, spontaneity makes for interesting menu planning. Dinner is often concocted out of a motley selection of items like the bag of food at the end of "Ready Steady Cook". One thing is certain; rice is always available, in supermarket sacks the size of coal sacks, in scoops from an open sack at a street market, vacuum packed, in boxes; white rice, pearl rice, glutinous rice, black rice,red rice, basmati rice, imperial banquet rice, Thai rice, Korean Rice...........

I will stop now as my Cantonese tutor will soon be here for lesson 4 and I still have some homework to do. I used a little bit yesterday, to give a taxi driver a street number. He answered in English, but at least he understood my attempt to say No. 188.

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