Saturday, February 21, 2009

To market, to market

by Ruth

Christina and I have gotten into the habit of going to the supermarket together, which is nice because otherwise we need the mutual prodding and positive peer-pressure. Otherwise we’d probably keep putting it off until we were subsisting on crackers for all our meals. Also, we can keep each other company on the bus, share a cart, remind each other of what to buy, and share a taxi on the way home. Together we decide which bag of flour or bottle of oil looks most like what we want (by looking at the pictures, since we can’t read the words).

Last night we went to the supermarket, which was a bad idea because it was Friday night. It was so crowded! Fortunately, running into other people with your grocery cart isn’t too bad so long as you don’t hit them too hard.

We jostled our way through the crowd all the way to the back of the store, the meat and produce area. The produce area is always the most crowded, even though the supermarket doesn’t usually have the best fruits and veggies. However, it appeared that sugar cane had recently gone on sale because we saw a bunch of people trying to fight their way through the crowd holding up long black stalks of sugar cane that were probably six or seven feet long. It would have made a great picture – a dozen black stalks of sugar cane sticking out above the mass of people.

I decided to forego on eggs (even though they are one of my main staple foods) because the line was too long. To buy eggs, you have to fill a bag from a stack of cartons, have the bag weighed, go over to the pay counter to pay and get a receipt, then come back and claim your bag of eggs. I didn’t really want to go through all that, so we took a detour around to the meat section, running over a couple of potholes on the way. Apparently the back aisle is not very important because the floor was kinda torn up.

The meat counter has everything from huge slabs of beef, to ground meat (beef? Pork?), to boneless skinless chicken breasts, to whole chickens (head included, of course). Behind the counter a worker was swinging a cleaver into a three foot hunk of compacted meat parts. Meat pieces were flying while people around the counter picked up pieces of meat with their bare hands to examine it. Fortunately, we didn’t have to touch the meat (always better, in my opinion). We just point out what we want and how much, and the meat lady bags some up for us.

Then we had to retrace our steps back through the store to the checkouts, stopping on the way to examine Pringles and Oreos, two nice things we can get here.. When we paid, I realized all my coins are still Thai baht, which don’t do much good here. When we got a taxi, I almost told the driver to go to “Yangda, zong bu,” even though I haven’t lived at that school for two years. Shopping is hard on the brain.

1 comment:

Anna said...

And I get stressed out shopping in the US... quite frankly though, I was always stressed by shopping in India because there are always so many people... everywhere. Kind of like China. =) Although at least sometimes a few packages had things with titles in English (but not all... which is how I started opening shampoo and conditioner bottles to peer inside and see which was which...). But... yeah for not having to shop for another week!