Shopping is something i haven’t done regularly for the past few years. In Arnhem Land we had seasons of shopping on holidays in Melbourne or Cairns. Shopping centres were often the source of overstimulation and exhaustion for us, as the number of people, choices and bright lights would weary us after just a short space of time. We would grocery shop every few months in Gove and then it would arrive to our place via the MAF plane whenever there was space. So my pantry was always very well stocked and i had a detailed shopping list of everything we needed to last 12 weeks between shops. Fresh produce would be bought at ALPA, but you needed to time your shopping trips well to make sure you could get everything you needed. The barge bringing in the fresh goods only arrived fortnightly.
So now, we find ourselves in major city, with a big shopping centre, called Timor Plaza just a five minute drive from our house. It even has Burger King and Gloria Jeans, not that we’ve been to either of those places yet. Mostly because there are markets and house shops everywhere. In fact the nearest market is at the end of our driveway, where the neighbours sells a few different types of chillies, garlic and asian greens. Next door, the landlady for our house, has a room of her house as a shop. They sell water, lollies, two minute noodles and a range of other bits and pieces. We usually buy our bread from her each morning too.
So I am needing to change my thinking about how, when and where we shop. On the weekend we did a fortnightly shop at the supermarkets. It took a visit to two supermarkets to buy most of what was on my list. This is mostly dry goods like rice, noodles, crackers, flour, UHT milk, UHT cream, spices and juice. Meat is all sold frozen, so we stocked up on a few packages for the freezer. Imported fruit and veggies are for sale here too, so we buy some capsicum, as i haven’t seen it for sale in the markets. Different supermarkets stock different products, which is why it often takes two different shops to buy what you need.
There are many people who sell things from the side of the road. Pulsa, which is credit for your mobile phones and internet can be bought here. Then there the people who sell things from carts along the side of the road. These carts are often manned by young men
who have a bike horn to get the attention of potential customers. So we often hear these carts of food goodies going past our house. Some have fruit and vegetables, other cooked food products. This morning a cart had a whole collection of baby clothes hanging from coat hangers. Sam was sad the clothes weren’t big enough to fit him. I need to be brave and try some food from these vendors soon… once i can find out what they are selling of course.
Other products need to be bought in a typical store, but finding the right store with the right product is still very tricky to us. We still haven’t found blutac despite looking in a number of stores. We want to buy /make some things for Sam to do in the yard, maybe a rope swing or something to climb on. It will be fun to find the things we need. Many of our purchases have been a result of driving down a road and seeing the type of shop we need, such as when we needed to buy a helmet for Sam for the motorbike, driving along happily… see the product you need… brake… reverse… buy what you need!