Skip ahead to now and you'd see a totally different person perusing the aisles. I've got the supermarket down. Armed with a weekly menu, shopping list, and Dominican pesos, I can get in and out of the store in an hour - sometimes less. It is no longer an adventure. Did life abroad just become routine? In some ways, yes. Yes it did.
But what would life abroad (or life for that matter) be if you didn't inject a little adventure into the mundane?
My friend, Mariela, who is off on maternity leave, whatsapped me last week to see if I'd like to join her on a trip to the new mercado - market - she's been going to. "It's kinda far," she joked, "but it's so cheap." She sounded very excited about it and while I could have come up with a million reasons not to go (since sometimes I do that with things not on the "regular" programming) I didn't. I was feeling adventurous. So, I said yes.
Mariela who seemed to already be an expert - asking one vendor how much his zucchinis were and then walking to another vendor to find out if his zucchinis were cheaper - was in her glory. The difference between 10 pesos/pound and 15 pesos/pound is small, about 10 cents, but she was after the bargain, the negotiating. She enjoyed trying to find where to get the best deals and from who. She was brilliant and I enjoyed reaping the benefits of her negotiations. I stayed close.
Give me two avocados and a head of broccoli. Oh. and one cauliflower too. I wasn't negotiating - I've never been good at that - but I was on my own roll. This was way more exciting than supermarket shopping, not to mention much cheaper. I looked at my cart that was growing full of fresh produce and grew a bit concerned that I was buying too much. I had only intended to buy a few things and here I was with 36 eggs, 4 eggplants, 2 zucchini, 2 avocados, a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, potatoes, and auyama (which, by the way, is the Dominican version of pumpkin). Maybe I should slow d... oooh, look at those peppers!
While I tend to talk on the more exaggerated side of the track, believe me when I tell you, that these were the most beautiful peppers I have ever seen. They lured me in like an enchanted siren. Look at me. I'm delicious. Stuff me. Roast me. Grill me. Red. Green. Yellow. I couldn't decide. So I didn't. Give me three red, three green, and three yellow. At 20 pesos/pound (or 50 cents U.S.), I'd deal with the financial fallout after. Turns out the financial fall out was 90 pesos ($2.07). Let me repeat and explain that: nine peppers, 4.5 pounds, $2.07. Unheard of where I'm from where I would have paid $2.00/pound bringing my pepper total to almost $9.00.
What more could I ask for?
... Oh yeah... a hanging salami please.
All photos property of Drinking the Whole Bottle through way of Expat Village.