The perpetual pursuit of the perfect, plump, plausibly-priced papaya

In the  previous installment of the Papaya Chronicles, I shared with you that the best price I was able to get for a papaya was about 5RMB, at the supermarket. Whenever I shop at independent vendors, I get the foreigner price. Seems they can always tell I’m not originally from China. I think my accent gives me away. In any event, last week, when I went shopping with Peggy and Fanny, they took me to an outdoor market and introduced me to their favorite papaya vendor. I selected my single papaya, he placed it on the scale, and announced the price 2RMB. I couldn’t help chuckling out loud. He laughed, too, likely because he knew foreigners don’t often get to hear those words, “Two RMB,” attached to anything in Sanya (or China) except perhaps a bus ride.

So, I asked them to tell him to remember my face (hee hee), so that when I returned, he would treat me like a regular ol’ Chinese customer since I planned to return. Then, “happy as a pig in papaya juice,” I took my new acquisition back home and enjoyed it.

Yesterday, I returned, found Mr. Fair Deal Perfect Papaya Man, he remembered me (good eye for faces), and sold me TWO papayas for 4RMB. So, I’m not exactly sure what the unit price is (my ability to palm and weigh in kg needs some work), what I do know is that this….

Costs me 2RMB, not 5, not 8, and not the 15 Mr. Papaya near Lost Hostel wanted me to pay.

So, here’s my traveler’s tip for you: when YOU come to Sanya, Hainan, and want a plump, perfect, plausibly-priced papaya, take the number 8, 16, 10, 2, 7 or 10 bus to the stop closest to original Wang Hao Supermarket #1, not the Wang Hao nearest to the bus station, but the one that’s now the new location of the original Wang Hao after the owner of the building they were renting from didn’t renew their lease, forcing them to move to the new location near the International Hotel, (got it?), and then walk through the mall, out the back, across the street, through an alley, past the covered area with the meat vendors, past the vegetable vendor ladies who may gawk at you if you’re Jamaican, step over the dog lazing in the exit, and into the open area where the fruit vendors are located, make your way through the crowd and find this man….


Mr. Fair Deal Perfect Papaya Man.

Say, Ni Hao in your best Putonghua, and then tell him that Walt, the Jamaican, sent you. Pay for your papaya, and enjoy!

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