Posts Tagged With: banana

[D+132] – More news from the Market

Bananas, sweet potatoes (and regular potatoes underneath)

More news from the Market. I’ve just came back from some new shopping adventures. I’m not going to extensively talk about prices, but here’s what I got for 5300 XAF (EUR 8.00 ; USD 10.00; or for José 140.5 pesos). I slightly haggled over the prices, but not so much :

I was about to mention I had paid 2000 XAF for the cab, and that it was half the price of my food, but I realized I am not sharing enough information on the town itself. I mean, did you know there were plenty of cabs in the streets, and that it’s common to use them ? Did I ever tell you where the market is ?

Oh boy! I am a bad blog writer !

I promise I will post very soon an article detailing how the life is organized here in Pointe-Noire. You will know everything !

Anyways, let’s get back to the Market. I’m not going to post great pictures from it : I had brought my camera with me and people were feeling very uncomfortable, which is totally understandable. It’s like you’re coming here for holidays, and ohhhhhhhh look! there is a market let’s take pictures of this attraction. That’s not what I’m thinking when taking pictures, but that’s how many people feel it.

However, during this first “visit” to one of the most active place in Pointe-Noire, I had taken a few pictures and I had shot a stolen video, from which I extracted some low-quality images. Sorry for the bad quality.

Oh and some people are eating caterpillars. It freaks me out but I think I will give them a try if they’re well-roasted…

Categories: Everyday life | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

[D+118] – Of the Price of Things (or : The Fish Story)

I went to the market this morning, for the third time since I have arrived in Congo. The more I buy stuffs over there, the more I realize how overpriced stuffs are in “expat shops”. I had decided to wait a bit before talking about money topics, but I’ve been living here for four months now and I think I have a decent overview of the price of Food. Here you go.

First, since I am lazy to convert each price in this article to their equivalent in Euros/US Dollars/Canadian Dollars/Yens/Whatever here is a little table giving you an idea of the rate between the “Francs CFA” (XAF – the Congolese Money), the Euros and the US Dollars (EUR 1 = USD 1.29).

XAF 50 100 655 1000 2000 5000 10000 20000
EUR 0,08 0,15 1,00 1,52 3,05 7,62 15,24 30,49
USD 0,10 0,20 1,29 1,97 3,93 9,83 19,67 39,33

There are many little shops in the town, but there are three main possibilities if you want to buy some food for your lunch :

  • Casino, which is a French supermarket brand ;
  • Park’n Shop, which is a bit similar to Casino but with a lower quality and higher prices (seriously, everyone tells you that Park’n Shop is cheaper but that’s definitely wrong) ;
  • The local market, where prices are much cheaper but where all the aliments are on wooden tables or even put on a cloth on the ground.

One may think : ” well let’s go the French supermarket !”

Good and bad idea. Good, because the quality is supposedly okay (I’m saying supposedly because it’s not always true). Bad, because everything is overpriced at a point you can’t imagine. People are buying Grapes at 10€ per kilogram (~$13) !! The worse quality products in the shop exceed the price of similar average-quality products in France. It’s pure non-sense, really. Of course, the petroleum industry brings a lot of money, but do I really have to buy things at a price that does not correspond to what I’m buying  ? Tomatoes at 5€ per kilo ? Or Nutella at 10€ for one jar ? Prices here do not mean anything ; the only “cheap” thing in my opinion is that you can buy a middle-sized roasted chicken for 3000 XAF (check the table above I said!).

After some time eating pasta and low-quality beef steaks, you end up going to the market. What I am usually planning to do is to buy vegetables at the market, and meat (well, steaks, because the rest is expensive) at the Casino. Indeed, seeing meat pieces on tables without any refrigerating system is rather revolting (you don’t believe me ? come check the smell around the market – that’s a fact, not a real negative feeling of course), but this time I thought I’d give it a try.

And I bought some (supposedly rather fresh) fishes…

Actually I had asked for two of them, but the price I had been told was for two “portions”. Anyways. But do you know how much I paid for these fishes ?

No ?

Okay the price at the Casino must be around 7000 XAF per kilogram for these fishes. Obviously I’ve got more than 1 kg of fish here. And I paid 400 XAF for these 9 fishes. I swear this is true. I haven’t tasted them so maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you “Bah, the fish story shall end here”, but they looked fresh especially since there was no flies around (there are PLENTY of flies in the market). By the way,

Along with that, I bought some Onions for 250 XAF, a Papaya and 13 bananas for 2000 XAF (at the Casino it would have been at least 10000 XAF I assume) and a of handful of strong red-to-green hot pepper for 50 XAF.

Total price : 2700 XAF.

On the way back, I stopped at the Casino because I still had to grab a few stuffs that I prefer buying there. I am not going to insist on the price differences, because they are obvious. Just check the prices on the picture.

What do you think ? Just leave a comment on this post to share your point of view…

Categories: Everyday life | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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