Tuesday, November 27, 2012

African Markets

First Market Trips

We had the opportunity during our first few weeks in the capital, to take a few market trips. One we were able to walk to. It was a HOT day & the market was a tad smelly. We saw amazingly different things. It was colorful and crowded. We weaved in and out and bought what we thought we needed. We learned so many things, like what was better to buy elsewhere, and how much to buy, etc. The butcher shop part was the least appetizing. Raw meat was laying out with flies swarming around while the butcher whacked at the meat. Some of the bones he pounded until they were like shrapnel. I'm so glad we learned that we could buy refrigerated meat elsewhere (and yes, we pressure cook it all!). It was fun to see the various beans in different shapes and sizes and colors. It was interesting to learn that you need to buy and eat your bananas & oranges while they are still green. Things ripen from the inside out in this climate. Oh, and watch out for small stones in the local rice!
At one point we were in the center of this covered market area (tin roofs or umbrellas for other stalls) and our kids started feeling boxed in. I was mentally prepared for it to be slightly unpleasant and overwhelming. Claire started climbing me, literally. She kept telling me there were too many people. Brent and I took turns holding her and telling her to either look up at the ceiling or to close her eyes. We were so thankful for the missionary guiding us around. She helped Claire pick out a bracelet & Ethan a ball. The terrifying trip to market was not so bad for them in the end.
We traveled by car to other markets (while someone watched our kids) to learn the ropes & were told we would not be able to remember it all the first time. They were right! This time, the market was crowded and maze-like. It spanned a large area & I refer to it as the “cave market” because it was a covered rocky area with rain dripping through – reminded me of being in a cave, only HOT. It was a huge place which will take me many times visiting before I can feel I've confidently mastered it. It was fun to see all the various produce available and the odd things you could find there. I liked this market but much prefer the idea of shopping with an experienced friend. We also had the chance to visit some Lebanese run stores that carried a lot of familiar (but expensive) French products. All in all, an interesting experience. Each time we come home from market was wash our shoes and feet and hands (you walk through some not so fun stuff, especially in the drippy rain). Ahh, the new shopping experience – what will I find next time?

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