I ate a baguette and some camembert for dinner

So I had a teacher lined up, but I haven’t heard from her, so screw that. I seem to be learning a crapload, regardless.

Today was shopping day, shopping for myself day. I went to the fabric market and found my corduroy lady, who recognized me immediately. After I was done with that transaction, I went to the third floor to try to find my linen lady… and she was gone. So I left… better off, probably!

Next I took the subway to the railway station; the eyeglass market is right next to it. I spent half an hour or so wandering around that place, trying to find the eyeglass market. Everyone kept directing me to the new eyeglass market, which pissed me off, and after a while I gave up and did what the non-helpful people told me to do.

So I went up to the fourth floor, and all these pretty girls from different stalls started calling me over to their shops. Guh, I thought, I’m doomed, these girls are money sirens. I went up to the top floor, the 5th floor, and started walking and ignoring the money sirens. I thought of Odysseus tying himself to the mast of his ship. I continued through the market towards the back, and one girl said "don’t go back there, there’s nothing back there" and I said, I’ll just go to the bathroom.

Before I got to the bathroom, I saw an older lady who looked like someone’s nice Shanghainese mom; her hair was short in the back with a top-perm, and she had diamond earrings. She smiled at me from behind her counter but didn’t call out. The fact that she didn’t yell at me, and the fact that someone had told me "don’t go back there, there’s nothing back there," when clearly Sombody’s Mom was back there… I knew I’d be buying glasses there. Case closed.

So the lady was totally nice, and she talked slow, like a TV mom. Her tastes were kind of boring, but there were cool frames to look at. When I tried on a pair she didn’t like, she’d say "No," 4th tone, which cracked me up. I got it down to two pairs that we both liked, and then surprised her by asking to look at some party glasses, who cares, they’re so cheap. I tried on a pair that with chrome rims, and she said "No" (4th tone), but then she found a different pair that was chrome but not as gross. I surprised her when I said ok, 三副吧 three pairs. She poked out some numbers on the big calculator and then surprised me when she showed me the price; 500块 RMB, which is less than $80 bones USD.

So then I asked how long I should wait for the prescription lenses, I thought she said "eight hours." I was thinking, wow, eight hours is pretty good turn around for three pairs of glasses, I can just come back tomorrow. But then she corrected me: 不是“八个小时”,我说“半个小时“。I heard "ba" but what she said was "ban," so not 8 hours, half and hour. And then she said in English "thirty minutes!" and then cracked up at the thought of using English.

So while I was waiting, another lady came in speaking some crazy crackerjack Shanghainese. Somebody’s Mom immediately went into Shanghainese as well, but she spoke it at the speed of Claire Huxtable. Crazy crackerjack was fun to talk to while Somebody’s Mom went and fetched my glasses, where they were grinding the lenses down the hall. I was thinking about buying sunglasses as well, but Somebody’s Mom had boring sun protection glasses; they didn’t look like rich people. Sunglasses should make you look like rich people.

I took the subway again, this time to the fake market on West Nanjing. It was pretty bad in there with the sales kids trying to chat me up. Looking past them seemed to work this time, but I still jerked my arm away a couple times when they tried to paw me.

I found a fashion sunglass shop up on the 4th or 5th floor, way up there and started looking at some glasses. The sales girls came out from the back and when I saw how pretty they were, I thought "noooooooo" I ended up buying three pairs of sunglasses from them, and they’re nice and I’m happy with the product and I got them down to a good price, but while they had their sales game on, I felt like I was being hunted by orcas. I made the mistake of trying to flirt back with them. Never again. Shopping is business, I have to remember that.

Anyway, the shopping mission accomplished means that I don’t have to shop for myself for the rest of the summer. I am done. I do have to do some gift shopping before I go back to Taiwan, but I will give myself a couple of days to regroup before going back into the fray.

Dinner? Dinner was a fresh baguette and some real french cheese from Carrefour. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to have for dinner in China, and heck, they went to the trouble of bringing the stuff all the way here.. Not surprisingly, the cheese selection is pretty good at Carrefour, and they don’t have all the stupid pasteurization requirements like the US, so I might as well enjoy it.

New vocab is below. Also, Davidico taught me a few ways to express my ethnic and national identity using 裔,which is sweet, because I don’t need to be called a Fil-Am, and I will snap someone’s neck if they try to call me an ABF the way they call people ABCs.



kǎoyú: Sichuanese-style roast fish, served with spicy oil

pào, pāo: to soak

平行 píngxíng: parallel; concurrent

毯子 tǎnzi: blanket

: descendant; frontier

pài: meat pie, aussie pie

眼睛 yǎnjing: eye

yǎnjìng: glasses; spectacles

: vice-; secondary; auxiliary; deputy; assistant; classifier for pairs (i.e. glasses)

家犯/span> Jiālèfú: Carrefour (French supermarket chain)

2 thoughts on “I ate a baguette and some camembert for dinner

  1. Nice! ¡Salúdame a Davidico! Oh…and try out Baker & Spice, next to the chocolate shop at the Portman Ritz-Carlton. Was the original Baker & Spice there when you were in SH? Of course, it’s not Columbia City bakery, but still…pretty tasty and I like the expat vibe, especially the original one in the French Concession.


  2. Pingback: Laser Eye Surgery, Round 2 | you don't have to read v2.0

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