Sunday afternoon, Stick and I went out to find a list of fruits and vegetables for his class on food words. He was planning to bring in examples of the kids’ vocabulary words, to give the kids a break from ESL flashcards.
We went to a newish fruit stand, since our usual produce market has disappeared, and looked for photogenic fruit. I was a bit apprehensive about going there… usually going to a new vendor means starting to bargain all over again, from 50 RMB per apple. And I think my tones are improving, because now when I say something like “one orange”, I’m more likely to get a full paragraph of regular-speed Beijing-hua than a blank stare in response. Sadly, I can’t understand any part of that paragraph, but it’s a step in the right direction.
We chose a photogenic pineapple, orange, peach, apple, and so forth. After we picked out a bunch of perfect grapes, I turned back to our pile of purchases, and saw that the fruit seller had peeled our pineapple and was starting to core it. I guess my surprise showed on my face.
“No problem!” the vendor said with a smile. “No extra charge!”