Fruit shops

5 Dec

Fruit shops are very sweet here in Shanghai. There are plenty of them around town and at least three near my flat. They only sell fruits and, every once in a while, you think you may have spotted vegetables but those are technically fruits, like tomatoes or avocados.

Anyway… I find them extremely sweet for several reasons. First, the fruits are always so impeccably displayed and vendors have a real feel for colours. Striking out are the yellow of pomelos, the soft orangey-pink of grapefruits, the unambiguous orange of oranges and darker orange of tangerines, and then, taking over, the spectrum of reds of apples, to finish with the amazing fuchsia of the dragon fruit. Second, they’re open late, very late sometimes and, with their characteristically open frontage, they brighten the street with their energy-saving light bulbs and colours, when shops around have shut down or when people rush back home. Finally, it always feels like they constitute a small hub of family or even community activities, during both daytime and nighttime. Because the shop is permanently open onto the pavement, the grand-mother, mum or whomever sits opposite, peels some vegetable, feeds the baby or teaches a toddler how to walk. Older kids run around naughtily and customers buy their fruits while walking their dogs.

I’ve chosen my favourite fruit shop somehow randomly but I’ve decided to be exclusive to it as a strategic measure to start knowing the local community outside my compound and, perhaps more importantly, to practice my Mandarin. The guy I assume to be the main shop owner turns out to be very nice and sympathetic to my linguistic efforts. He gave me a sincerely amused but polite smile when, instead of asking for píngguǒ (apples), I asked for péngyou (friends).

This is my one. The man in the middle is the shop owner. I was trying to be discreet...

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