Mmm, toasted stale baguette slices for breakfast today. We tried to put it off another day, but it was time to go shopping, lest we be reduced to dry cereal for every meal, until that runs out and we start on the crumbs we find at the back of the cupboard.
As is our way lately, slightly embarrassingly, it wasn’t until about 12 that I found the manager guy and told him that nous devons aller au ville pour quelques heurs, which may or may not mean that we were off to town for a few hours (but not to freak out and think that we’d skipped out on the fee), and we drove out the gate.
We were used to doing grocery shopping in Tunisia, so we had resigned ourselves to stopping at a thousand little grocery stores, each with a very slightly different set of available goods, until we had the basics of what we needed. Or we couldn’t take it any more. I managed to look like a total dumb tourist, first when I was entirely unable to understand the French of one assistant, who kindly fell back to English; again when a shop-keeper gave me the price in thousands of milliemes which I dumbly misinterpreted as being ten times the actual amount, long enough to hand over a 20 DT note when a couple of coins would have sufficed. Those three decimal places are a killer.
After visiting a couple shops and still missing some staples, we drove on into the center of the rather metropolitan town, along a riskily narrow and cluttered road that seemed to be part of a market area, and found a park on a busy street nearby. I always feel sheepish hopping out of a giant motorhome in places like this, nodding amiably to the onlookers. Yep. We’re obscenely rich tourists. Sorry…
We wandered for about 20 minutes without having found a shop selling the things we were after, and then were thrilled to spot a big Carrefour sign. We cautiously approached, trying not to get our hopes up, then we saw that it really was a supermarket and it was open! We could hardly contain our glee!
A supermarket! A proper one! We eagerly walked inside, grinning — this was better than the camels! We found cheese — actual cheese! — and sliced bread, and canned tomatoes, and ice cream! By the time we were done, our shopping baskets were almost pulling our arms off. A helpful security guard pointed out that there were trolleys here, and we grinned and thanked him. Dumb tourists! Well it’s not our fault the place was full of more awesome, awesome stuff than we had anticipated.
We took our booty to the checkout, and proceeded to have a particularly awkward time when we were told they didn’t accept cards here (huh?), and I had to run to find an ATM while the line piled up behind us. The programmer in me was disgruntled that it wasn’t possible to pause a checkout session to let other people go past; Katherine was the one who had to stand and look sheepish while I found an ATM, though. Yeesh. Third dumb tourist moment of the day. Or is it fourth now?
With the familiar feeling of accomplishment, we drove back to the caravan park and settled in. Full cupboards again!
First things first: Coffee with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Melt butter in pan, add slices of bread, fry until relatively brown, add tomato and cheese filling, top with another slice, flip, add more butter and swirl it around. The cheese was that kinda tasteless ’emmental’ stuff that we’re not too keen on, but it didn’t matter — it was a freaking revelation! Even better with a smear of harissa. A nice taste of things to come in less than two weeks when we’re back in Italy!
Update: Oh man! I nearly forgot to mention: Garlic-flavoured cream cheese!!