So the other day I was at the little streetmarket in the alley near my apartment, and I saw crazy little melons I couldn’t recognize. I asked the seller what they are, but my language skills are at a weird place where I can ask “what is this?” but I can’t really understand the answer. I did pick up “very good” and “not cook” so I figured I’d buy one and see how it tasted. The man told meit would cost 18 kwai for one. That’s $2.16 for those who don’t do the conversion instantly. And for those who do, can you give me a quick mental formula for the kilo-to-pounds conversion?
It goes without saying that whenever I’m outside there is a small crowd following me around to discuss my clothes and purchases. Before I could tell the vendor that $2 for a melon is way too high, a women from the lao wei-following crowd jumped in with a paragraph of rapid Chinese. I couldn’t make out much of what she said, because she spoke quickly and with a local accent. And because my Chinese is awful. I did catch “bu” (don’t, not, isn’t, un, no) and “wo men de wai guo ren” (our other-country person), and then the vendor turned to me and offered me a melon for 2 kwai!
I think she was saying “Don’t cheat our foreigner!” but she could just as easily have said “Don’t bother, our foreigner never has any money.”