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11 September 2013

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Penny - He sometimes has a couple things I don't recognize. Maybe I should, but I don't. There were these little things in leaf wrappers - wish I would've taken a picture. Because they were kind of like grapes but not -- very delicious. They were part of a "freebie" he threw in. And there were also these very orange ... fruits. They were very "mushy" inside and also very delicious. Different texture. I'll take pics next time.

I don't haggle on the fruit yet. Still adjusting ... I just feel guilty haggling over paying 1 cents for a banana or even $3 for a big bag of veggies. I have (and will again today) haggled over electronics stuff. There's this huge - mall kind of thing full of individual sections. Dozens of different people selling much of the same stuff. I've haggled there -- though I also just go to the first station, ask the price - write it down, then go to the next one, write it down, then go to the next one -- then just buy from the cheapest one. :) They seem to quickly figure out what I'm doing so each one goes down (and sometimes, the one I'm leaving throws out a better price).

Food cost varies very much. Bananas are incredibly cheap. Peaches are more expensive expensive. We got 6 apples (three different kinds), two oranges, and some grapes for 6 rmb ($1.00), with two bananas thrown in for free. I got fixings for a salad (Three types of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots (the fat kind), celery, a chinese chive tasting sort of thing, a purple onion and a white onion for about 15 rmb ($2.50).

Wine is hugely expensive. The Louis Jadot bottle of beaujolais-villages i used to get at Safeway for $9.99 (less 10% if I bought 6) is $32.20 here. When eating out, wine is usually at least 50% of the cost of the meal, if not more. (Beer, on the other hand, is very cheap relatively.) When eating in, if having wine, it's usually at least 75% of the cost of the meal. The meal itself could have cost less than $5.

Our neighborhood is, from what I can tell, very safe. There's not a lot of personal crime here in Shanghai as I understand. Our complex is gated and -- has all sorts of security (though you can drive a truck through it easily I think).... but I'm convinced that's to give the expats peace of mind, not to actually keep crime out.

Another thing of note to me is that the city streets are very clean - much more like Chicago than New York. There are street cleaners (with bamboo brooms) *everywhere* constantly sweeping up litter and leaves. So, it's not that people don't litter - they do, including throwing cans out the window of car as I witnessed yesterday. But there's gotta be thousands of workers sweeping all that up 24/7.

Does the fruit guy sell things you don't recognize? Do you haggle yet? How safe is your neighborhood? How expensive is the food? So many questions...

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