Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Flower Store

Last month, I got some goldfish and a fish tank as a gift. I didn't know the first thing about fish, and raising them has been more of a challenge than I expected. This is compounded by being in China. Somebody looked at my fish, and told me it needed anti-fungus medicine. I didn't get them to write it down, and really had no idea how to even suggest the idea at a pet store. Regardless, feeling courageous, I asked where in the area I could find a pet shop, and they told me in the back of a local flower store, oddly enough.

I'm not the flower-buying type, and had never been inside, but truth be told it was an interesting place. First of all, the inside of the main mall was packed solid with every type of flower and plant that comes to mind, from cactuses to Anthuriums.

There's also the arranged sticks of bamboo sprouts that often decorate restaurants. Here they're behind purple flowers that look like they've seen better days.

But more interesting are the shops in the back. Shanghai tends towards fixed prices, at least in comparison to the rest of China. Still, you'll find yourself in situations where there's vendors one after the other. It's interesting to see but I consider it a pain. It slows down the buying process, and foreigners always get high balled.

These vendors often sell arrangements of flowers, whereas the main store more sells potted plants. The flowers on the left of the picture, raised up on a stand, are intended for store openings. When a new store opens in Shanghai, they'll invariably light off firecrackers and line up maybe two to eight of these flower displays, they're kept up until the flowers are nearly dead. Within earshot of my apartment I hear firecrackers going off nearly every day.

Am I getting too froo-froo with this update? There are also some pets being sold. Mostly it's birds and fish and decorative pets like that, but this bird vendor also had a couple of kittens, who were playing with each other inside this cage.

And on a more basic level, you can buy decorative rocks. They're separated by size, and purchased by weight.

Finally I found a fish shop. Conveniently enough, a lot of the fish products had English as well as Chinese written on the packaging.

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