This morning our alarm went off really early for some reason, and I woke up with a headache, and couldn't go back to sleep, and then it was cold in the apartment, so I turned up the heaters, added an extra blanket, and then...finally went back to sleep. With no alarm--well, it sounds like an excuse--we slept way in, so we got a very late start, and as we were standing at the bus stop in the pouring rain, realizing that we would get there in time to see one and a half children, we decided to try for an early start tomorrow, and go exploring today instead.
I got asked for directions again (what is up with that?) and then we hopped a bus to try to go to the Ashan (which is apparently their version of Walmart here.) A young mother with a passel of kids shyly struck up a conversation with us, and we had an enjoyable chat, as her english was pretty darn good. Most of the younger people have studied english in school, even though they may be reluctant to even try to talk with us. She wasn't reluctant at all, and asked us about ourselves. We told her about adopting 3 children with Down syndrome. She said she was very glad, because, "in our country, those poor children have no one who cares about them." She and another man on the bus gave us directions on how to get across the highway to the shopping center, by taking the pedestrian bridge up and over.
I took these pictures of the Ashan, and its neighbor across the way, the Epicenter, which is something of a Lowe's and Home Depot, with motorcycles and a restaurant thrown in. Unfortunately, there was a stern sign at the doorway prohibiting dogs, skateboards, alcohol, and cameras! Bummer! I've been wanting to take more pictures, but as everyone stares at us, it makes me more hesitant, rather than just figuring-- Oh well! They're staring at us anyway! Looking at the Ashan's giant sign, David said, "Even I can figure out that that says 'supermarket.'" I think it actually says, "gippermarket," or "geepermarket," but someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
Speaking of appliances, they had a wide selection of small kitchen appliances. Interesting, because there were lots of those smoothie makers that look like a cordless screwdriver, that you stand in the glass, and whiz up the ingredients. Those didn't really take off in America. Also, lots of stand-mixers with really flimsy plastic bowls. I wasn't too sure how well those would stand up to a batch of cookie dough. Lots of food dryers (we thought) that were labeled in english as steamers. They looked for all the world like food dehydrators, but what do we know? Some bread makers, a waffle iron or two, and lots of toasters (no surprise, considering how great their breads are.) The big surprise--meat grinders, lots and lots of them! Apparently, no kitchen is complete without its own meat grinder. Missing in action? Crockpots--here in the land of soups! Why not? I would be crock-potting that borscht, if I lived here!
Okay, here's something we did decide to buy. A teeny-tiny coffee pot. I've seen these in the european decorating books, and every picturesque kitchen has a tiny coffee pot on the stove. I really wanted the classic plain galvanized-looking metal one, from the pictures, but the insides were aluminum, so we went with the stainless steel and porcelain one. There's only so much instant coffee one can drink, and we finally broke. This is a tea-drinking nation, and they do drink some coffee, but they do it their way. Lots of instant coffee, and a few coffee houses here and there. We tried a coffee house the first week, but were pretty disappointed, and overcharged, and haven't tried one again.
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