Normally, I spend Saturday mornings grocery shopping. Grocery shopping in Benin isn’t like grocery shopping in the States. It’s a lot of walking, a lot of carrying heavy bags, and for an out-of-shape woman like me, it’s quite a workout.
First, I hit up Soditex for cheese and Lebanese flat bread. They’re the cheapest in town, and I can’t make delicious flat bread pizzas without the basic ingredients. Then, I walk 4 or 5 blocks to the next supermarket,* BSS. That’s where I stock up on basics: milk, flour, olive oil, mayo, etc. Nothing weird, nothing low fat, just the basics.
If I need something complicated, I have to CROSS THE BRIDGE. My bag’s starting to get heavy at this point, so first I stare longingly at the taxi-motos that are zipping up and down block, and then I start walking. Supermarché du Pont is filled with hard to turn down goodies, but also stuff like sour cream and other harder-to-find dairy products.
Before heading to the real market, I assess my bag situation. How heavy is it really? Do I absolutely need vegetables or can I wait until my CSA shows up on Tuesday. Usually, I’m out of lettuce and parsley. No, I can’t wait. I trudge back accross the bridge and past BSS, then keep on walking.
When I finally get to the market, I’m sweating buckets and clearly need a break. All the market ladies ask me if I’m OK, and I say something to the effect of, “Fine goddammit gimme some lettuce.” They oblige. My vegetable lady is at the market entrance, so I rarely have to go in. Thank goodness!
All this to say, I didn’t get my weekly market workout yesterday because we hired some neighborhood kids to scrub our house from top to bottom (supporting entrepreneurship! yeah! and laziness! don’t forget that!), and I needed to supervise and get some work done. Today, I didn’t get the workout because we took a car and drove a newly arrived friend around to show him where HE can get cheap cheese and good sour cream.
I never thought I’d get to the point where I actually missed the ridiculously painful two-hour sweat session, nor the sore muscles that follow.
*Supermarket is a euphanism. Medium sized corner store with a deli section and no fruits or vegetables.