Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Fish Saga Continues

So it was probably a bit irresponsible of me to let Z get pet fish given the abbreviated length of our stay in Beijing. But they were so cute and so unique, and I figured they would make a nice parting gift for one of Z's friends when we were ready to head back to the States.

But with grandparents 7000 miles away, who would watch these guys while we left on our Chinese mini-adventures? "Hey, Z, why don't you ask the man who sold you the fish to fish-sit for a couple of days?" After all, the shop is just downstairs...

So Z did what I asked and the man agreed. The funny part of the story, though, wasn't my request to Z, or even the vision of Z carrying the fishbowl back to the man. What happened on our return was the part worthy of a chuckle.

You see, when Z picked up the fish, there were two additional fish in the bowl. The man told him, "Uh, those fish [a kind of guppy] are for the big ones to eat." I was skeptical given the size of these new additions in comparison to the ones already in there...Not to mention that there was a new sticker on the outside of the bowl which read 26 yuan! Hmm...four fish in a bowl with rocks and a fake plant for 26 yuan? Z had paid 40 for the same set-up, minus the two guppies. Oh yeah, there was no spoon though.

Honest businessman here...not so sure. But the story gets even better...

So now it's the day before we're heading back to the US. We've decided that giving the fish to a friend might not be the best option, so I convince Z and Julie to take the fish back to the store and tell the man that we are returning home and that we would like him to take the fish back. At this point our numbers are down to two (the guppies, I might add, are the lone survivors) and this is definitely the most convenient option. So Z and Julie head back downstairs for yet another exchange with laoban.

Expecting a quick return, we were surprised when it took them a while to get back. It seems that the man had a conscience. He was unwilling to accept the fish back unless the kids accepted a gift from him...seeds.

Seeds? "We can't take them on the plane with us," said Z and Julie. "You are not allowed to transport plants or animals from China to the US!" His reply, "Don't worry about it...Just put them in a different container and if anyone questions you, tell them they are Chinese medicine."

Politely, the kids accepted the "gift" which we, of course, left behind. The true gift, though, was all the great "fish stories" that laoban left us with. All entirely true, I assure you!



At 8:11 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

Aw, you could've had your own little plot of invasive species!


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