Every Tuesday and Friday the Apartments that we live in have a service where they run a shuttle bus to a different shopping centre or supermarket. I went along last Friday with a long list of groceries and the hope of getting to meet someone who I could speak English with or maybe even become friends with. Waiting for the bus I struck up a conversation with a woman from Melbourne who had lived in China for a year with her husband. She and her husband were both school teachers, their children had flown the nest and they were loving their new life in China. She gave me a bit of local knowledge about where we could buy meat that had been refrigerated, where there was a good baker and what the good Restaurants were in the area.
The bus dropped us off at Carrefour which was the biggest supermarket I have ever seen. I wandered around mesmerized not finding a thing on my list and in the end buying toilet cleaner, dish cloths and a block of Lindt chocolate.
I am not sure why I can never find much to buy in these huge supermarkets, maybe it's the signage for the aisles or it is just that I haven't a clue what the food is.
After purchasing my groceries I went upstairs in the same shop and found some coffee mugs so that we didn't have to continue drinking out of the thimbles in the apartment and a little saucepan so we didn't have to use the saucepan that was big enough to bathe a small child in every night. Do you think I could find where to pay for these coffee mugs and saucepan? I wandered around and eventually asked a lady who didn't have a clue what I was asking. She pointed in the direction of the sheets so over to the sheet section I went. Time was ticking and it was getting close to the time for the bus to leave so I ditched the mugs and saucepan in the sheet section and went to get back on the bus only to be pulled up by the security guard as I was leaving. The security guard started yelling at me in chinese, I said, "I haven't a clue what you are saying mate", so he yelled some more at me. In the end I got my toilet cleaner, dish cloths and Lindt chocolate, laid them out on the bench and showed him my receipt. He nodded and pointed at the exit.
I got back on the bus to be greeted by the woman from Melbourne, "How did you go?", she said.
"Oh, great, how did you go", I said.
"I did very well, thank you", she said to me and I looked at her and I could just see her face peeking through all the shopping bags she had piled high all around her.
I am thinking I might need a bit of practice at this grocery shopping.