Tuesday, September 19, 2006

God Bless ShopRite

(I wrote this a while ago and haven't had a chance to post it. I've been in ny apt for a week or so now...)

September 10, 2006

I have officially moved into my apartment! Without any remorse, I said goodbye to Hotel Turimar and dropped my suitcases off at my apartment. I then went with a coworker to ShopRite, a new South African supermarket that opened only a week ago. I cannot stress enough that ShopRite has revolutionized Lobito. ShopRite is an American-sized supermarket, with prices that more people can afford. (As opposed to the other supermarkets, which only foreigners and rich Angolans could afford.) Later, a French woman told me that she went near closing time, which is around 6 pm. There was a mob of people outside clamoring to get inside the parking lot- they were so “enthuastic” that they broke down the metal gate. But they still didn’t get in to buy that cheap, fresh bread! Like 90% of the things sold in Angola, the products are from Portugal, Brazil, and South Africa. Not too many American brands- in fact the only ones I found were Coca-Cola (of course) and Snickers. Mmm. I did find South African peanut butter, which is not bad.

After the ShopRite we went to the antithesis, o mercado chapangueira, Lobito’s largest outdoor market. For the first time since I have been here, I really felt like I stuck out- I was clearly the only foreigner around, and promptly had five kids following me, asking for money or trying to convince me to buy their plastic bags. I enjoyed it- it was nice to be in a real market again, see what Angolans buy (everything from red palm oil to Crest toothpaste).
There’s another young American woman in town, and she invited me to her birthday party on Saturday. I met a ton of the ex-pats in Lobito- the ones I’ve seen driving around in Land Rovers and swimming in the one pool in Lobito (in fact, the party was at the house with said pool). Mostly French, but also a large number of South Africans, sprinkled with one other American, and a Danish guy and his Filipina wife. ¾ of the crowd were oil employees, which was interesting for me- definitely a different mindset, although not the greedy capitalists I had prejudged them to be either. It was nice to meet people. Some day I will have Angolan friends too!

I didn't bring any cookbooks (too heavy), so I'm in the market for recipies with any of the following ingredients:
and your usual beef and chicken. There aren't too many spices, but I can make do.

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