The first grocery shopping trips in foreign lands are always mini-adventures, as are many otherwise ordinary activities. I wanted to get milk so I could make my Nescafe properly and savor its delicate taste every morning and tea time as I have for the past year. Half milk, half water, one teaspoon of Nescafe, and a packet of Splenda. Curses upon anyone who comes between me and my Nescafe reverie.
We went to a dairy place (I forgot the name for it in Arabic), a little store where one would purchase all milk, yogurt, egg, and cheese needs, and after we had gotten our dozen eggs and apricot jam, we asked for a kilo of milk as well. I was expecting one of those boxes of ultra-pasteurized milk that I remembered from my time in Morocco, but even as I was picturing them in my head, I turned around and a gigantic silver vat had appeared in the center of the room out of nowhere.
I don’t know how I missed it beforehand or why I didn’t think about how odd it looked to me, but there it was, the veritable vat in the room, the china in the bull-closet. And then as I watched, a young man took a measuring cup and dunked his arm down into an opening in the vaguely pyramidical vat cover and out the cup came full of (fresh?) milk. He poured it into a bag, tied it up, tossed it into our shopping bag, and we were on our way.
Huh, I thought. That’s not what I was expecting.
Tonight we’re having a little get together with the other CASA fellows at Happy City hotel. I imagine it is staffed by muppets.