Thursday, September 23, 2004

"You sure shop a lot !!" Christina wrote me. "Is this a new thing? I can't recall you ever mentioning shopping in England...or South Africa...Got a new habit, or are
you two just eating more than usual?"

This is true. I am suddenly doing a lot shopping. Not that I particularly enjoy it, but new places, new customs, I suppose.

In England, I could shop by internet. Just log onto the grocery store, choose what I need, and hey presto, it arrived more or less in the appointed delivery slot. Milk arrived on the doorstep every other morning. There was really not much need to go out in order to stock up.

In South Africa, we used to do a big weekly shop. Also, I had a car then, so it was relatively easy to drive down and load up the boot.

Here, I more or less have to shop every day. I can lug home only what I can carry, or fit into my red shopping trolley. Besides, I live right near a huge shopping centre called In de Bogaard. So close, in fact, that I could almost be in the car park. Except that my shopping trolley is nowhere near the size of the supermarket trolleys.

Even closer, almost a car park stall, is a small supermarket that is good for catching up on basics. It's about a minute away.

Then there is the question of what am I shopping for? What, when it comes down to it, is an ossenhaas? Assuming I could do an internet shop, I would be flummoxed. Internet shopping is usually remarkably short on information. But when I'm at the meat counter, I can look at the ossenhaas and decide it can only be some cut of beef. Which cut, I need a dictionary for later, but at least I can see it's beef. And even with the dictionary, I'm not so sure either. What exactly is undercut tenderloin anyway?

And finally, there is the issue of the size of Dutch kitchens and Dutch fridges. Now that I've turned the bar fridge into a secondary kitchen repository, I can just about manage fresh food for three days. This is important at weekends, as the shops are shut on Sunday and Monday. OK, they open Monday afternoon, but if you can buy a loaf of bread, frozen to last the weekend, you are lucky.

So yup, I'm shopping a lot. At the moment it's just grocery shopping. But who knows. The habit may wear off and you may actually find me in a clothes shop one of these years!