Tangled yarns from London's passers-through

009 : Casey Whale at the fruit stall beside her house, Hongqiao
Born in 1983 in Wang (town not appendage), Australia, Casey Whale currently works as an organizer. Why Shanghai? It’s cooler than London. She digs the following Shanghai bits: Shanghai Talk magazine (it’s da bomb!); getting (everything) delivered; tree-lined streets on a clear day; getting lost; walking to work with my music in my ears. She is, however, a bit miffed by cigarettes (true to reformed smoker form); soulless materialism; lack of cheese; the metro doesn't come near my house; people being mean to animals. For more info on Casey Whale you should send an email or visit her company's website.

image: ~ RAYMOND

“It's strange how her hair seemingly reacts to her mood – her fountains wilt and slump when she is tired and grumpy. ”

Wavy Girl is waving to me from across the street. She does that, hence the nickname. I don’t know her real name, or how old she is, but she looks about three. It’s hard to tell with Chinese girls though; maybe she’s really 30, but I doubt it.

The fruit shop[1] next to my building is where I buy my fruit. I buy fruit every morning on my way to work, so I’m there quite a bit. That’s where Wavy Girl lives, with her mum who sells me the fruit. They live in a small room/large cupboard in the back of the shop.

Sometimes I think Wavy Girl has quite a nice life. Her days are filled, as far as I can tell, with playtime, trips to the public toilets in the nearby laneway, and, of course, waving to customers. She is safe to walk around on the street, as all the vendors take it upon themselves to keep an eye out for her. The cramped living space would bother me, but for a little one who hasn’t known anything else, it is probably nothing. I just hope that she’s not too cold in the winter.

Wavy Girl’s hair makes me smile; her mum always ties it up into small fountains on top of her head that sway madly as she waves. It’s strange how her hair seemingly reacts to her mood – her fountains wilt and slump when she is tired and grumpy.

I’m about to move house and a part of me is sad because my life will soon lack Wavy Girl. I wonder if she will even notice I’m gone.

It’s strange – I never noticed how much she made me smile until now (cue Joni Mitchell: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone…”).

referenced works

  1. Fruit stalls are ubiquitous in Shanghai, especially in the older neighbourhoods. Some blocks may have several stalls along its stretch, with shopkeepers peddling seasonal goods. It’s not uncommon to see makeshift shops pop up from time to time, especially in the summer, when here-today-gone-tomorrow stores often open to hawk watermelon. (China is the world’s largest producer of watermelon. Come summer, a common street scene is the unloading of trucks piled high with the massive green globes.)

location information

  • Name: the fruit stall beside her house
  • Address: 343 Huaihai Xi Lu, near Hongqiao Lu
  • Time of story: Morning
  • Latitude: 31.224353
  • Longitude: 121.475916
  • Map: Google Maps



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