The air is thick with a pungent fusion of poultry, fish, and vegetables. Shopping carts squeak along the aisles and crash in some hasty encounters. The incessant chatter of housewives fill the air. Young promotors for the newest yogurt drink chant their slogan in a feeble attempt to rise above the din. Lo and behold, the Chinese hypermarket, a fusion of Costco, Safeway, and Ranch 99…on steroids.
Today, I tackled this behemoth as my grannie’s assistant. As I pushed our squeaky lopsided shopping cart with the grace of a hippo on rollerskates, my Grannie charged full speed ahead like a boss. She expertly perused the assortment of eggs, bananas, and fish. While I got whopped by 4 shopping baskets, crashed in 2 other carts, and got stuck in the small aisle between the rice and roasted fish fillet, she weaved through the crowd of aggressive and angry housewives with ease.
This experience has been…extremely authentic. While Chinese people are making drastic improvements in terms of public etiquette, things unfortunately haven’t caught up where the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the freshest fish. To make matters more intense, today was China’s National Children’s Day. The place is usually already packed with people, but today it was swarming with little kids.
When we finally made it to check-out, our fresh fish literally flopped out of its badly packaged container. Operation Catch the Slippery Fish was successful, although I used almost half a bottle of my lavender hand sanitizer to de-fish my hands afterwards. My grannie decided to head to the hospital directly, so I flexed my abundance of muscles and dragged the groceries home. Crossing the street, I almost got hit by a speeding black Audi. My first instinct was to make sure all 12 of my eggs were still intact.
Everyday is an adventure.