Sunday, October 28, 2007

Grocery shopping at Estcourt

We had started too late from Johannesburg, and had to do some grocery shopping in order to get to the gate at Giants Castle before it closed at 6 PM. We stopped in Estcourt and did most of it at Macksons supermarket. This was a place used nearly solely by the Africans in the city, and very different from the other supermarkets we shopped in later.

We were going to live in a self catering cottage for two nights and needed stuff for two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners. I had bought four bottles of wine before leaving so that had been taken care of.

Macksons was a large hangar of a place packed with people. We had made a list of things to buy, and we got most of it - at industrial quantity at ridiculous prices. There were, however, things that were difficult to get.

No bacon, was the answer when asking, and the bread for sale was the white sponge that would clog up our intestines. And dinner - the beef under offer, had a quality that probably meant you had to boil it forever, for it not to end up as the beef at BJ's that Tone and Grete had struggled with. So bacon was substituted with Boer sausages (yum), and we bought a huge bag of frozen chicken to eat for lunch and dinner.

Macksons was an interesting place to do our grocery shopping. With the meat (right) you found the Boer sausages, as well as sausage shaped packages of something I would believe to be a spam-like food product on the middle shelf.

In the lower compartment there were packets of large round white cheese and buckets of some kind of dairy product. Being in the US and Europe I always have an idea what things are, but at Macksons I may have needed some instructions, if I would have chosen anything from these shelves.

Let me say, however, that the SPAR supermarket where Grete, Tone and Jan frantically try to find the rest of the food less than an hour before the gates of Giants Castle closed, could have been anywhere in Europe. So South Africa is, indeed, a country of contrast.

And we had forgotten that October 1st was the first day of summer..

And as we drove like crazy to get to the gates of Giants Castle before 6 PM, I read the instructions and it dawned on me that it was October 1st, and the first day of summer, and the time of closing the gates was not 6 PM but 7 PM. Everyone, including the driver relaxed, and we were suddenly very cheerful, looking forward to a good glass of wine and dinner....

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