Dragon fruit and eyes at Auchan

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A small selection of fruits bought at Auchan. The brown Longan, also called Dragon Eyes for obvious reasons. The fiery looking Dragonfruit, with a melon like pulp inside with small seeds. The green fruits are Jujube’s (also called Chinese dade), resembling and tasting small apples, but with a prune like pit.

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At the bank

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Today I visited the Agricultural Bank of China, the bank of choice for XJTLU-employees. I wanted Chinese internet banking to buy stuff on Taobao, Alibaba and of course the Chinese Apple store : ). Local branch was only a bicycle ride away. 20 minutes later a bank guard guided me to a line with an employee that spoke english. Continue reading

Flower bouquets!

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CoffeeflowerSuzhou-01On my way out of my complex, I passed by this recently opened coffee shop. Ready for the first students to arrive! The flower bouquets are gifts from friends to congratulate the owners. Their senders names are calligraphed on the ribbons.

The bouquets are made and placed to maximum effect for people passing by. The small bouquets with chrysanthemums and lilies costs around 150 yuan (19 euro). The big one that also uses roses and orchids costs around 300 yuan. There is no possibility to water them. Too bad they wither in just one or two days…

Emile Zola’s ‘Ladies delight’

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Emile Zola, In het paradijs voor de vrouw [o.e. Au Bonheur des Dames 1883], Contact, Amsterdam 1974. ISBN 90-254-6398-3, 434 pages

In ‘Ladies delight’–also known as ‘Au Bonheur des Dames’–French novelist Emile Zola tells the story of a country girl, a department store and the development of consumer society. It is a good read for shopping afficionado’s and historians alike. Published in 1883 it is based upon the meteoric rise of the still existing Parisian department store ‘Le Bon Marché’ around 1860. So what is the story with Zola? Continue reading