The Bazaar has just about everything: fruits and vegetables of every kind, cheese, milk, beans, rice, spices, socks, shoes, pants, shirts, jackets, cooking utensils…you get the drift. But lest you think this is some sort of Macedonian flea market, think instead of a once a week opportunity to buy produce. The vendors start setting up on Friday evening and tear down Sunday afternoon–or when their stuff is gone. No Publix over here and the shops that do carry groceries are more like a small convenience store without the soda fountain or hot dogs. That said, my diet has been extremely healthy. In fact, I’m thinking I’m going through some kind of preservative-withdrawal, and I’m hoping that doesn’t mean I’ll age more quickly! You can’t see the mesh wire holding up this practically vertical rock wall on the back edge of the market–but it’s not the most stable environment. Hopefully if anything happens it will be on a weekday.
Every weekend families go to the Bazaar and buy their supply of produce which will be their main food staple for the week. Nada bought a watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, apples, cabbage, and eggplant. She also bought raw milk (later boiled on top of her stove), freshly baked bread (still
warm), 2 dozen eggs and several small packages of meat. I pretty much carried her packages and tried to keep her in sight as she moved between stalls testing for freshness and bargaining with the sellers.
I’ve yet to see a busier place in Macedonia. The business of shopping, the donkey-transportation, and the myriad of offerings—it was a little overwhelming. I know I’m going to have to shop that way when I move out on my own in 8 weeks and get my final assignment, but yikes! I guess that’s why they’ve covered food and shopping words early in the language training. I know how to say ‘how much’ and ‘too expensive’….yeah!
On another note, I just have to vent a bit about the ATM fees from Bank of America. I took out $10 the other day (which will go a far way in Macedonia) and they charged me $5 to access my money. Doesn’t 50% sound way too high under any circumstances? Now the obvious solution is to get larger amounts, but at 47 Denari to the dollar, $44 gets you two 1000 Denari bills, and no small shopkeeper can even make change for a 1000D bill. Plus it’s best to avoid that ‘rich American’ image. Ah well, I should have my Peace Corps ATM card by Friday and be able to access my entire 230 Denari for the month of October…Wooohoo!