Crude, But True
I had plans to go to lunch with few girls today, but it turns out my digestive system had other plans, dangit! There’s always next time I suppose. At least this extra time affords me the time to do another update!
Yesterday, a lovely neighbor introduced herself and invited me up for coffee. She took me on my first taxi ride, where I learned that fares are negotiated before you take your seat. No meters in Gabon. First things first – where do you want to go? And how much do you want to pay? Second- do you want the cab to yourself? Yes? That’ll cost extra. Cabs are more like busses in terms of function. If you are headed down to Geant CKdo (a grocery store) and anyone on the way is headed that direction too, they hop in the cab with you. Making friends! haha. Note: Always exit the cab on the right side.
Unfortunately, once we negotiated our fare, it was time to part ways with our canine shadows. There are lots of street dogs here, and two take permanent residence in the alley outside our apartment (pics to come). The boy dog, who I am calling Tres (because he hops around on his 3 good legs) and Mama dog, who is obscenely pregnant. Puppy anyone? They seem really friendly, but I typically don’t get too close, though Diego really wants to meet them.
Anywho, as we headed for the main thoroughfare yesterday to catch a cab, Tres & Mama followed us…The WHOLE way – literally, in a perfect heel… navigating traffic, and the roads here are busy! (probably explains Tres’ only 3 working legs.) The girl I was with explained that last time Mama had puppies she started feeding them, and now whenever they see her – they stick to her like glue. She wasn’t kidding!
Once we got to the Geant, I was pleased to see that most items had price tags. AKA, when you ring up, they scan your items just like they do in the States, and the price shows up on a traditional looking register. Whereas the first market (cecado) I went to, rings by strictly recall – all the pricing from memory, and if they don’t know it (about 30% of the time) they make up a price. Prrrrrrobably getting ripped off there… another reason I need to get my numbers down fast, among other things.
But yeah – word from coworkers is that Geant is a safe place to shop – so I bit the bullet, and got some produce – even meat! (Which some of you know, even skeevs me out to buy in the States.) Feeling a little cautious about the dinner I had planned to make tonight, considering the state my stomach is in- having eaten only prepackaged items, nothing fresh. Oh well, gotta jump in sometime. Send my gut solid thoughts friends! Happy, probiotic thoughts!? haha.
Most items in store are in French, but you do see things like Corona, Coke, and most Post cereals. I bought a few bags worth of groceries, including random other essentials like all purpose cleaner, a wine opener, paper towels, and then basics like juice, cheese, flour, etc. The total came to 58,30 CIFA. (Had to borrow 1oK from my new friend/neighbor). Cost equivalent, about $120. Food is really expensive here because most everything is imported. Tortillas are $9.00, I passed on those – though I was tempted. Learning quickly that I need to come to the market prepared… getting to the store is a bit of an ordeal. Gone are my daily walks to Wegmans to grab whatever I needed for whatever I felt like cooking that night. Meal planning is going to be a must. Load up on groceries, less often, and get creative. We don’t have an oven in the apartment, so I am working with 1 pot, and 1 skillet, and a microwave until our shipment arrives. Nothing I can’t handle… but an adjustment for sure.
I spent the rest of the afternoon getting my creative juices flowing at my neighbor’s place. She loves to paint and was gracious enough to share her supplies with me. It was so lovely being in her apartment… she has been here a year, so her place was homey, and decorated. Felt like something actually lived there, which was so amazing compared to our blank, bare bones place. We made Valentine’s day cards and listened to music…I could have been anywhere.
Happy Valentine’s Day,