Time consuming, that’s what it was.
My friend L offered to come with me today and I was happy to have her along. These sorts of things are way easier with some company. The suuk is the most stressful place. I want to love it, and I hope to eventually, but honestly it is still intimidating and kind of overwhelming. It was good to have L along too for her to make sure that I wasn’t paying crazy prices for stuff. I expect to pay more than a local, but I just don’t want to be completely taken for a fool, you know?
There is a small suuk just a hop, skip, and jump away from the house. Which is really convenient. Found a veg table that looked adequate and bought most everything I needed from this fellow. He complimented my Arabic while a guy sitting down behind him watched us and laughed. After 3 or 4 other people interrupt and go ahead of me I get all the veg I need and actually pay less than I expected to. Then went to the dry goods guy and overpaid for onions and garlic. It happens.
Hop back home to drop the veggies. Walk 10 minutes or so out to the fruit guy and pay probably a little too much ($1.50 too much or so) for bananas and mangoes. Saw a pineapple, which is rare. Ask how much it is and it was too much. Could have bargained down, but wasn’t feeling up to it.
Walk back home to drop the fruit then take a bus up the road to where the supermarkets are. Businesses are kind of grouped together by type. Stationary shops are all together, all the Turkish curtain stores are together, hardware stores…you get the idea. Hop off the bus and walk up the street to one store. Get a few of the things I need there. Then go a few more minutes to the next store and get the rest of the odds and ends I need. I was hoping to pick up some more pencils and paper for the boys centre, but that would have been another bus ride and another place out of the way. Not up to it today so I will stop on the way back from class tomorrow.
Anyway, by this point I have a bulging bag. Instead of taking 2 buses to get back, as we were now in the well over 100 degree heat of the day (and covered head to toe), we get a rickshaw back to the house. I wouldn’t have minded the bus ride, but it is crowded and so awkward with extra bags that avoiding the hassle was easier.
So that is how I spent 2.5 hours today. I have learned that without a car, living in close proximity to the fruit and vegetable guys are a necessity. I plan on getting pretty buff these next few years with the schlepping of groceries. Just kidding, I don’t mind it. …As long as they keep telling me how great my Arabic is!