I asked my neighbor across the hall for some advice. Like many men here, Mohammed does the grocery shopping for his family. It is not at all unusual to see a car stop at a fruit or vegetable stand and the man get out to shop while his wife stays in the car. Mohammed recommended the produce stand near our favorite bakery up the street. We didn't realize that they had a large vegetable selection in the back.
The vegetable selection was not only superb, they let the customer choose and bag their own items. We also weighed them on one of those ancient balance arm scales that I described back here.This honor system is extremely rare in Egypt. In all supermarkets where we've shopped, a store employee must weigh all produce selected.
I kept all the half-kilo bags in my left hand and the one-kilo bags in my right. Linda carried the two heavier bags of strawberries and cucumbers up to the "cashier."
Calculating the total was a job for two men. (father and son) We had ten items. The total came to 51 Egyptian pounds (a bit under $7). I gave the young man in charge of arithmetic a one pound coin and a hundred pound note. The older man (dad?) reached into his galabeya pocket and pulled out a half-kilo wad of cash to get my change. Both were smiling and very patient with their foreign customers. All the while, other customers were stopping in to buy a kilo of oranges or tomatoes and so forth.
We arrived home and took a picture before putting away the vegetables and fruit.
- 4 pounds of strawberries
- 2 pounds of carrots
- 2 pounds of Yusef Effendi (mandarins)
- 1 pound of red peppers
- 1 pound of green peppers
- 2 pounds of bananas
- 2 pounds of potatoes
- 3 pounds of cucumbers
- 1 pound of tomatoes
- 1 pound of onions