Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Shopping in foreign countries

When I was in high school, my family took a summer vacation to San Diego. We took in Tijuana and stared with awe and sadness at the gorillas at the Wild Animal Park, but the biggest attraction was the 99 Ranch market. We were coming off a lard-intensive visit of a Mexican bakery, but this stop was the ultimate. 99 Ranch is an enormous Asian food superstore. And yes, grocery shopping IS the kind of thing my family likes to do on vacation.

The produce section was just about the size of our hometown grocery store. Men in waders sloshed around in knee-deep aquariums to catch that night's fish or lobster meal--in one motion flipping them out of the water and dispatching them with a quick blow. Two whole aisles and one refrigerated case were devoted to noodles.

But the thing that I remember most vividly, the thing that made my and my younger sisters' eyes widen in horror, the thing that made my mom and aunt choke on their giggles and try, desperately, to play it cool, was the beef pizzle. There it was, "Beef Pizzle," lying in a plastic-covered butcher shop tray like, well, a detached, um, pizzle.

"Is that--—?" we said.

"Yes," my mom whispered.

And, like the good cultural ambassadors we hoped to be, we acted like we ate beef pizzle for dinner every Saturday and went on to browse the selection of miniature dried fish.

But we sure did giggle about it later. After all, we were young and not quite ready for pizzle.

And in that spirit, since I am clearly older and more mature, some inappropriate humor:


Anonymous Jeremy said...

The "My Fannie" toilet paper seems even more questionable given the fact that UK English is likely the dominant form taught in Asian nations, and "Fanny" is slang for female genitalia in England.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous allison said...

yikes...... jussipussi..

4:42 PM  

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