Grocery shopping abroad

I was just at Giant Supermarket in Reston, VA, for about thirty minutes. I stocked up on the coming week’s supplies. It was boring.

I always dread going to the grocery store. It is always too cold in there, in northern VA the parking lot is always too small for inappropriate amount of people who live in the area, and the lines reach world record length. Lonely Planet’s “The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World” (2007) says that Bangladesh is “the world’s most crowded country”… I wonder if the authors have ever visited Fairfax County.

While there is no art to grocery shopping in suburban America, people who have been to Europe know that buying flowers, fruit, vegetables, and bread, can be a revitalizing cultural experience. When I studied abroad in Trier, Germany, and once had an internship in Cologne (Köln), I purchased my lunches and other groceries from carts and stands on the town plazas on a daily basis. One has the opportunity to select fresh items and become friends with the grocer. Meanwhile at Giant today, I left with neither lettuce nor tomato, because the lettuce was completely wilted and the tomatoes were bruised. One would think they would bring out “the good stuff” for a busy Saturday, though I am doubtful of the existence of any good stuff, which is generally hard to come by in large American supermarkets and certainly even harder to come by now in the middle of January.

Please enjoy the following images of grocery shopping abroad. To continue on with my theme of thinking about Haiti especially during this month of January, my pictures come from grocery experiences in Leogane, Haiti. I have chosen to show you these photos, because they showcase a much more hands-on involved process of procuring one’s victuals. Also, these photos evoke feelings of warmer weather! You can click on the photos.

I captured some fish-shopping action. Not only do you get to see the fish being loaded onto the motorcycles, you get a glimpse into the noise level and busy-ness in the area, the sounds of people trying to continue on with their lives. The town where the video is from, Leogane, is closer to the actual epicenter of the Haiti earthquake, 15 or so miles west of Port-au-Prince:

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