“HOTIMA! SEE-HA!” (That’s, “Try It! It’s Very Sweet!”, In Cantonese)

Right, so if you didn’t gather already, I sold apples for over 7 years for the most amazing orchard out of Apple Hill in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Camino, California. RAINBOW ORCHARDS, to be specific. West Betty, of Rainbow, is by far one of my favorite bosses, much less one of my favorite people on the planet! He always made me laugh, always made me feel like a rockstar no matter what, & always had a glass not only “half full”, but truly “brimming over”.

I could write a book alone on apple sales & farmer’s markets alone, but this post is about cantonese ladies who buy fruit at the Civic Center SF & Old Oakland markets. Yes, this is for them!

Many of the apple girls had a hard time with them. Truth be told, these ladies can come off as rude, cheap, pushy, & messy. Yes, they have a reputation for ruthless bartering & throwing their apple peel sample on the ground immediately afterwards.

But, I have to say, I grew to love these women. First of all, they all had the same look: gold teeth & mix-matched polyester. It’s true! It is true!

And, what really made us bond was me learning just enough cantonese to put us on the same page.

I made up all the phonetic spellings myself.

But, here’s how it would go:

HOTIMA! SEE-HA!

YETMON YETBONG!

YETMON YETBONG!

(translation: Try it! It’s very sweet! One dollar one pound! One dollar one pound!)

They would can themselves laughing at the white girl speaking cantonese & would repeat it to me, in the loundest, most “tonal” way possible. I would then shout it back to them in the same fashion. They would shout it back to me. We’d all laugh again & again, & (of course) they would buy my apples!

DOCHAY, my special friends.

DOCHAY to you!

(“thank you, thank you!”, translated.)

Other Cantonese 101 from the Apple Stand:

yetmon – $1

lemon – $2

salmon – $3

samon – $4

mmm-mon – $5

ee-ho-bong – 25 cents

mmm-ho-dee – 50 cents

All you need to know!  🙂

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