July 21, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I bought some oranges and Japanese pears from a neighbourhood fruit vendor.  On this particular corner, there is a restaurant.  I’m not sure the hours of this place, since most times I drive by, the place is closed.  A husband and wife set up boxes, and place more boxes of various fruits on top and sell them on that corner.

I’m not sure what gravitated me to this particular spot.  Perhaps that they do set up on the corner, and not in a market.  The wife normally wears a handmade sandwich board, I presume trying to advertise the most recent fruit available for sale.

She actually surprised me when I stopped to see what she was selling.  She began speaking English to me.  Not perfect, but at least conversational.  A heck of lot better in English than I am in Chinese.  It wasn’t long before she asked if I was a teacher.  From that point on, she has always called me “Teacher”.

Back to the oranges and pears.  After having bought other fruits for the past few months, this time, she made a point of tossing into the bag, a couple extra of each fruit, and telling me that they were for me.  It then struck me, that she not only speaks, but really does understand when I speak, English.

I purchase a large amount of fruit from her.  Usually, it’s on my way into Giraffe.  In this case, the oranges were 10nt each.  I bought 30.  Then I take them into Giraffe and let the other teachers indulge.  The pears were a little more, but still reasonable.  Anyhow, she shows me two of each, puts them in a small bag, and says they are for me!  I give her the money, and just as I’m getting ready to go, she hands me a papaya.

When I got home that night, I decided to eat the papaya.  It’s been a while, but I really do like papaya – in limited quantities.  This papaya was huge.  The thing about a papaya, is it mostly all edible.  The skin is thin, and easily peeled off.  It is a soft fruit, so it is easy to cut.  In the center, is a handful of seeds that look more like fish roe.  Like a pumpkin, you scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp holding the seeds, and voila – the rest is a delightfully sweet orange fruit.

Being that it is rather soft, but not like a banana – a little more rigid – it is easily cut into bite sized pieces.  As I’m cutting it up, Qadan, my youngest kid, comes over and starts to lick one of the pieces of papaya.

Now, I have never, ever seen a cat eat fruit.  Ever.  However, this little feline seems to love fruit!  Actually, Qadan will eat almost anything.  So far, there is nothing I haven’t seen her eat.  Kind of like Gabriel and Ignatius eating red peppery chicken pieces that I occasionally get for dinner.  They both seem to like that little bit of spice on their tongues.

It wasn’t until Qadan started to actually chomp down and tear off bits of the papaya that I really took notice.  It wasn’t like she just tried it and walked away.  Hell, no!  She actually ate the piece I had given her.  So, thinking this was just a fluke, I gave her another piece.  Damn if she didn’t eat that piece as well.  I was more in awe watching her.

Well, being the proud owner of a dozen or so mangoes, it had sort of slipped my mind about the papaya event of a few weeks ago.  Qadan and Gabriel were in my office with me.  While watching “Scrubs” on justin.tv, I grabbed one of the mangoes and started peeling and slicing it into pieces.  Well, if Qadan and Boo-boo didn’t start meowing around my feet.

Then the flashback.  I decided to put a couple of pieces on a plate, and put it in front of them.  They both licked the little piece I had put down, and within a few seconds, the pieces of mango were gone, and they were looking up at me, with that hopeful look in their eyes.  Why not!  A couple more pieces, a little bit bigger.  Without hesitation, they both grabbed a piece, and it was gone.  Go for broke?  Triple play…  By this point, after giving them a third piece of mango each, I was now finished the remainder of the mango.  I put MY plate down, with the mango juice on it, and Qadan starts lapping it up.

I have very strange cats.  I guess if I had a steady diet of the same food three times a day, a bit of mango or papaya in my diet would be a welcome respite.    However, the food situation is from years of trial and error on my part.  I have tried to give them a varied diet of various flavours and brands of food. Over the years, I’ve learned from this group of felines, they enjoy two different flavours of one particular brand of food.  I also feed them twice a day, but all day long, if they so choose, there is dry food available.  So they aren’t malnourished by any stretch.

I’ve tried other brands.  I’ve tried other flavours.  They have chosen the food they enjoy.  Cornelia is strictly canned food.  Arabela and Eloise will eat canned food, and dry food.  Ignatius will eat canned food, dry food, and the occasional foods I bring home for myself.  Boo-boo and Qadan are biological vacuum cleaners.  If it’s edible, then they eat it.  I can’t be home all the time, but when I am, sometimes I have to stop Boo-boo from chowing down on plastic bags.  And Qadan has a penchant for paper and paper products.  When I see these items (plastic and paper) attempting to be consumed, they are immediately removed from their grasps.

Cats is cats!

That’s it, that’s all… for now!

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