Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 7, 2013

I enjoyed another beautiful, sunny day at the flat until it was time to meet Gulnara and Michael to buy the refreshments for the workshops. On the way there, I stopped at the Food Boutique and found they’d finished stocking the shelves and were now selling Pringle potato chips, tortilla chips and salsa and the shocker: a can of chili beans for almost ten dollars. Balsamic vinegar went for over ten dollars too, so the only thing I thought I could splurge on was the spinach fettuccine noodles. I looked for spaghetti sauce and found none.

A few buildings down the same road, I found one of the two German bakeries Douglas had mentioned, but this was only a hole-in-the wall type of operation with a few pieces of pastry on display and some chocolate and cookies from Germany on the shelves. Apparently, its attendant and perhaps owner, smokes inside and the place just reeked of cigarette smoke. I left as quickly as I could.

Beta Stores was the usual jammed packed place I’ve come to expect no matter what time of the day or day of the week. After exchanging some money, I looked around for a small saucepan where I can cook polenta, cream of wheat or just a small portion of rice, but all of them cost over $20.00 or were being sold as part of an expensive set.

When Gulnara and Michael arrived, we proceeded to buy the tea, coffee, sugar, cream, napkins and biscuits for the event in the process irritating the hell out of the clerk in the biscuits section who didn’t understand our budget limitations and the need to buy pretty much six kilos of the same type of cookie.

We took everything back to the school and locked it in one of the classrooms. Michael and I went straight to Sierra Coffee where we could find no table available except for one in the smoking room. Michael, who’s a smoker, headed there to use his computer and I started to chat with Christina, the woman from the Philippines I’ve met there several times. She invited me to visit her speaking club this Saturday and promised to cook adobo for me.

I asked the manager at Sierra Coffee if we could post an announcement about the book on her bulletin board, and she agreed as long as we make it half a page only. The woman behind immediately asked me about it and said she was interested in taking part in it. I gave her my card and agreed to be in touch.

Michael had agreed to stay with tonight to save himself the commute to his friend’s house in the suburbs. I reheated what I had cooked earlier in the day and we had dinner together. He also had a portable hard drive full of movies and offered to transfer some of them to my laptop. I’m always happy to have more movies.

I was unable to find the password to the Wi-Fi system and just went to bed to read “The Giver”, hoping to finish it, while Michael used my computer. I finished the book, but hated the inconclusive ending even after reading the author’s comments at the back of the book where she says it’s up to each individual reader to decide what the end should be. I simply don’t feel so comfortable doing that.

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