Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gross-ery Shopping

Over the last year I have put myself on a pretty strict diet.  Normally, I count every calorie and gram of fat I consume and restrict myself to a certain daily intake of both.  Right up there with the looming threat of war with Iran on my "things I'm dreading about Israel" list was grocery shopping here-- I figured/knew I wouldn't be able to read the nutrition labels.  Last night proved that the supermarket is in fact way more daunting than anything Ahmadenijad can throw at me.  Oh, except maybe a nuke. Maybe.

Yesterday morning I had a late breakfast at a cafe in Jaffa and spent the rest of the day at the beach. Rough life, I know.  After toying with the idea that I might know my way around this part of Tel Aviv enough to go out drinking without getting lost, I realized I should probably grab some food first to avoid getting too schmammered.  Looking to save money and avoid restaurant prices again, I was fortunate enough to find a grocery store nearby open late on Shabbat.  At first glance I thought, okay--- I can do this. Not so bad.  Air conditioning?  I'll stay here all night. Every cashier looks like a model? Added bonus.  ...then I actually took a few steps in.  No English.  None.  Zero. English. Sir. I forgot to mention adding to my dilemma was the fact that no one in my room at the hostel knew how to get into the kitchen, so I needed to get something that required no cooking and no refrigeration unless it was a small enough of a portion to be consumed in one sitting.  Minor parameters, no biggie.

After walking lap after lap through the aisles to the point that the security guard began to stare at me, I was more confused than ever.  I grabbed an apple, a mini-baguette, two liters of water, and some yogurt, all for about $5, so the savings overshadowed the frustration of being illiterate. Back in the hostel, I realized I had neither a spoon nor access to this glorious kitchen the website promoted so heavily.  I walked around aimlessly looking for one to no avail.  Defeated, I went back to my room and everyone was gone.  With no one watching and no other options, I quickly shamefully dipped my baguette into the yogurt and slurped it from the bread. In hindsight I acknowledge that the apple would have been the better option.  I blame the jet lag for clouded judgement. I immediately spat the "yogurt" out.  It was horseradish. Or hummus.  Or both.  Not that I'm against those foods, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

After the initial shock and confusion subsided, I realized that I might as well finish "dinner".  I heard the door to the room opening, so I quickly jumped up and ran to the bathroom to finish my food, embarrassed that it might be the judgemental girls from Spain coming in.  I scarfed down the baguette laden in mystery sauce and went back to my side of the room. OH NO.  Instantly I noticed that some of the ...whatever it was... I spat out was on my sheets and the floor.  I know not everyone has their mind in the gutter, but I'm pretty sure the scene looked beyond incriminating, especially seeing as how my big ass was running into the bathroom and slamming the door behind me as they entered. 

Needless to say, today I was less adventurous: I ate a Cliff Bar I found in my backpack and am meeting someone from my hometown for dinner.  Tomorrow, I try to find an English friendly supermarket. 

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