adventures in shopping

Sneaking in a blog post using Lunar Cafe’s free wifi while we wait for our lunch. We ordered 8 items (each one $1, $1.25, or $1.50), and our server wrote nothing down. “You can remember?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said smiling.

(We’ll see if she’s just flat-out amazing or if we’ll be trying some things we didn’t order.)

So. Our days have been filled with shopping, shopping, shopping. If you know me the tiniest bit, you know that shopping is one of my least favorite activities. I have friends who live for shopping–clothes shopping, stuff shopping, window shopping. They amaze me. Shopping makes me want to curl up in a ball while banging my head on the floor.

(Except for the thrift store. Or shopping at the library for books. Or the grocery store–I can mostly handle that.)

Shopping in Cambodia is a whole new level of angst for me. Where am I? Where are the stores? How do we tell a tuk-tuk driver where we want to go? (Gabe does this for me.) How will I find a pillow that’s less than $13? Why is a blanket $108? What do the words on this food product say? Am I willing to pay 4 times what this would cost me in America?

Here are some of my options:

1.) Toul Tom Poung (aka, The Russian Market). We can walk there from our house. I can’t really describe it. I’ll have to take pictures soon. It’s crowded and hot and smelly (good smelly & bad smelly) kind of open air (but with a roof) and there are no fixed prices. You barter for everything.

2.) Angkor Market. This is a convenience store. Think gas station but with more stuff. And an upstairs level with things for your home.

3.) Pencil & Paragon. Malls. Kind of. Upscale for Cambodia but, when we went there today, they were like ghost towns.

4.) Do It Best. We’re heading there after we eat. I was in shock the first time I went and couldn’t buy anything, but once I saw our other choices, this one is looking like they really do do it best.

5.) Steph & Ryan’s apartment. Our friends just got married in November and came back to Cambodia last week. They had a few boxes of extra stuff they didn’t need and let us look through it. We came home with a tea kettle, hair trimmers (score!), 2 coffee mugs, oven mitt, the Hunger Games trilogy, etc. They’re also giving us 2 wicker shelves & a small table. So thankful!

6.) Aeon Mall. The new Japanese mall that makes me angry just thinking about it. Super techy and fancy and full of things that 92% of Cambodians would never be able to afford in their lifetime.

7.) Other random markets, shops, street vendors that I don’t know anything about yet.

(Okay, our server is officially AWESOME. Exactly what we ordered. Lunch for 5 =$10. Woot!)

Here are some things we’ve purchased so far (and the prices) to kind of give you an idea. Some things have been a good deal, some not so much. And I keep reminding myself–DO NOT DWELL ON EVERYTHING YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE BROUGHT WITH YOU–but it’s taking awhile to stick.

–hangers ($2.50/6 pack)
–tissues ($1.30/box)
–toilet paper ($1.25/6 rolls)
–air freshener ($2.40)
–clothespins (I forget)
–laundry detergent ($3.40)
–fabric softener ($1)
–skillet ($7)
–spatula ($3)
–small pot ($5)
–1 soup spoon (65 cents)
–plastic forks ($2)
–paper towels ($1.75 for 2 rolls)

Still need:
–rice cooker
–dish drying rack
–other stuff

In the food category, we’ve bought oil, lots of vegetables (cheap & yummy), some fruit, oats/almond milk/raisins for Gabe, yogurt & Grape Nuts ($2.25 for a box–cheaper than in the States!), snacks, garlic salt ($3.20–I miss Aldi!), bread, jam, peanut butter. By far, my favorite thing to buy is 2 small pineapples in a bag at the Russian Market, already carved and peeled and you eat it like a delicious pineapply right-from-the-tree drumstick–$1.

Okay, the girls are itching to get going, I can’t really concentrate, and I’m regretting writing a post about shopping, because I’m boring myself.

We get internet in three days! Woot!

3 thoughts on “adventures in shopping

  1. Vallaree Fields

    I enjoyed your post! It makes me feel like I am right there with you! I know what it is like to start over. I have done it many times. And I had to leave behind so many things that were dear to me and things that were essential to living. It will come! Remember God knows your needs and your hearts desire! Love you much!!! 🙂

  2. Stephanie

    Can you get regular salt, and garlic powder? If so… make your own garlic salt! 🙂 I think it’s 2/3 salt, 1/3 garlic, IIRC.

  3. Rachelle

    I love you beyond words! As an introvert the shopping for me would be so hard. Just a question: in other Asian countries they spray the fresh cut fruit with water so those unfamiliar with the bacteria aren’t supposed to partake. Are you guys avoiding any foods/drinks or are you literally immersing yourselves in the culture and trying to acclimate?

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