Traditional Convenience

Veggie Sellers

I I don’t know there in where you live, but here we often have the same meals for breakfast, lunch- or perhaps brunch, and dinner in a day. Rice, rice, and rice! of course along with other side dish condiments. We are so used to having the kind of eating habit that we do not think it’s something boring anymore. Being someone who owns the name tag as “Chef in the family”, I often am at a total loss to decide what to have or better yet, prepare for today’s menu. It is not easy sometimes to decide what to have for the day as I often depend on the veggie seller who often passes by my home. In my homeland, activities begin at 4 A.M when the sun is indeed still sleeping soundless, and the wind is still cool.The veggie seller brings all kinds of veggies, (yep Broccoli too sometimes), and fruits on his motorcycle modified in such a way ( like you see the above picture), so that he can place all the veggies, and fruits on his motorcycle.And when he comes, half yelling-he greets me (not by my name though) yet by his own opening line:

“Sayuuuuuur” – yelled in English as “Veggieeeee” ( emphasize on the second syllable- I swear I laughed for this – English yet an Indonesian accent) or Gemüse in German

(I got chuckled when I had to translate this into English- it sounds strange, hehehe)

When I said “Opening Line” I mean that he will usually initiate some small talks while waiting for me to decide (sometimes even longer than I expect) what to buy. And yes, as someone who is dealing with marketing, he often tries to make me buy this and that, and sometimes with discounts.

On a Wheelbarrow

It’s not easy sometimes to just grab whatever he brings. I seem to be, say, the 10th customer out of 13. In this case the 1st customer is the winner, because of his or her privilege to choose whatever they like (well even though they don’t always get what they want, but bigger chances that they will).

I : Whoa! there’s nothing left, Pak(sir) I seem to be the last customer today.

Veggie Seller : Well, mbak (Miss) What should I do? I can’t just leave my other customers alone, and tell them No when they stop me, take a look at my veggies, and decide to buy.

I : You’re right Pak.

Anyhow, being lazy and just waiting for the veggie seller passes by my home, I may not get what I want. But, I can be a bit optimistic ; I may get what I want so long as I text the veggie seller a day before, and tell him what to bring(this wasn’t possible to do some years back when cell phones were only limited to some people only). This way often works though as long as the veggie seller gets what he wants meaning he relies on the central traditional markets as well.

This kind of shopping offers me some benefits ( at least in my opinion):

1. Free from traffic jam, thus free from anxiety of being stuck in a traffic.

Sure! All I do is just waiting for him to pass by my home. I don’t need to wait for a public transport to get me to the shopping center to get what I want- especially for today’s menu.

2. Training my communication skill ( I guess)

Like I said; the veggie sellers like to have small talks. And like I said Indonesians do think small talk is important. It is a sign of respecting the existence of another human being around them. I am a quiet customer sometimes.

3. Ignore the look-stylish performance

I am neither a model nor a stylish. When I go to a supermarket, at least I have to look neat, a bit fashionable based on my standard: you’ll never know whom you are going to bump into at the supermarket. But this kind of shopping doesn’t demand your best look, I’d say. I shop only in front of my house, so why care so much of the outfit, the accessories, the make-up, and such things? well I still do, but not as best as if I shop at the supermarket.

The downfall ? yes of course…

1. I may not get what I want

I have to prepare to have some alternatives to the main plan. Think! Think!- it’s time for me to be creative with the ingredients in front of me- modify them into a new recipe ( hopefully it turns out good). Hmm “being creative”?? is this actually the downfall or the benefits??

2. They come way too late sometimes

It can ruin my busy schedule. I am not doing anything, just because I have not done my job as “Chef in the Family” yet.

For the time being, I still like this kind of shopping. It’s still somehow convenient to me. It is always my own “risk” not to be able to get what I have. But I do have some solutions to the problem caused by traditional convenience : Whenever I do not get what I want, I will just need to cycle to the nearby markets ( three markets at close quarters), and I usually get what I want, hehe.

Lu2Ar

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7 responses to “Traditional Convenience

  1. You are luckily so have such fresh vegetables all year round, here it is only at certain times of the year, summer and autumn, that you can get really fresh things. You also have many things that we do not have here, what are your favourite Indonesian fruits? snake-fruit, dragon fruit, durian…

    Even when I am in Indonesia I can not just by anything, because I am not used to the micro-organisms that you have so the rule is Fry it Boil it, Peal it or throw it (away)- or I am likely to get bad stomach (I get this anyway but maybe not as frequently).

    I wish I was better at making vegetable food, it often takes some time to prepare, and when living alone, one does not get so much inspiration.

    • So shopping fresh vegetables is kinda expensive event then. You don’t have what we have, and I think at some cases we don’t have what you have ( speaking of food, not sure what we don’t have but you do have there.) I like Durian, and oranges, hehe. I only know few people, westerner that is, who like Durian. I guess you don’t like it?
      I know that even when you were here you ordered hmm iced tea without iced cubes?yes? and when I asked you said something about the quality of the water.
      I know, some food really takes sometime to prepare; I guess it’s a matter whether you like it or not with the cooking activities.

  2. It’s nice to read more about daily life, how you experience it. Do you get the other things you need, like meat, rice, tea and such from the market or do you have supermarkets where you go to?
    I happened to see a photo of the Durian on a blog of a Canadian friend. I never saw one, let alone taste one. I must admit…, it doesn’t look very appealing to me….

    • Yes I think so too, sometimes people’s experiences can be yours too someday, you’ll never know.
      That’s what I like from the markets,or supermarkets in my neighborhood; they are mostly complete, now it’s only about which market/supermarket you are used to going.But once again, you may not get what you want if you don’t get up early in the morning; early bird catches the worms.
      Perhaps I should treat you one package of Durian? hehe many supermarkets here take out the durian out of the spiky thing, and put the durian in a sealed styrofoam, but I guess it would be confiscated when I am at the airport.

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