Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shopping in Yaounde


The new mayor of Yaounde has undertaken a clean-up program. Little green spaces have sprung up, and there is even a nice park in the middle of the downtown area. Many of the street vendors have been chased away and relocated in stalls. The little boys who used to clamor to “guard your car” (i.e. not puncture your tires) for a few francs have all disappeared. It made today’s shopping trip less of a hassle than we expected, but it also made it less interesting from a cultural standpoint.
In the grocery store, I was looking over a wall full of imported (mainly from China and France) household utensils and saw an odd looking one. I asked an employee what it was. He looked surprised and exclaimed, “Madame, I have no idea. You’re the one who should tell me what that is!” At the spice rack I bought little packets of coriander, thyme and oregano, while wishing that I had brought other spices with me from the States.
We ate lunch at a cafeteria where we have eaten in the past. Prices have gone way up. The meal (salad, curried fish, plantains and fresh pineapple) that cost us nearly $20.00 would have been half of that in the past. But it was very good.

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