21 January 2012

Saturday morning in the markets

This morning I did something I don't do very often, but it was a very successful exercise. I went to Psah Toul Tom Pong (Russian Market) with a list of items to find. First for the list:
  • Construction paper/cardboard for a social studies project
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Toilet paper
  • Mini zip lock bags
  • Postcards
The good news is that I was successful on all fronts, although I did visit five separate stalls to obtain all five items.

The first item I managed to locate was the most interesting and satisfying. In the past I have been able to purchase large sheets of light cardboard for posters, but only in white with a gray back. Today I located the type of cardboard that I am used to using for posters in Australia. The huge sheets were only 3000R each (75c), and I was able to get green, blue, pink and yellow. What was so much fun about this purchase was the packaging. Imagine carrying 16 sheets of cardboard (110cm x 80cm) home on a motorbike! At first I thought I'd put it in my backpack, but that wasn't going to be very secure, so the shopkeeper, hearing I was riding a moto, very quickly packaged it up with a piece of string, complete with a lovely handle that I could sling over my shoulder. It was very secure and very practical.

The next two items were those essentials for the bathroom. Yes, I could have bought them at the supermarket, but they are bulky or heavy so it was better to buy them when I wasn't buying other grocery items. It was also much more interesting, getting the shopkeepers to correctly identify the item I wanted.

After that I was looking for mini Ziploc bags. These 10cm x 15cm bags are perfect for packing biscuits for morning tea. By putting them in these packets, it also helps with weight control by discouraging me from eating a whole packet of biscuits in a day. I can usually recycle them a couple of times. It was interesting buying these because instead of buying by quantity they sell them by the kilogram. I'm not sure I didn't pay a foreigner price for them, but I was happy with what I got.

Finally I remembered that I needed a few postcards so it was back to the stationery section of the market where the lady who helped me find the cardboard earlier was happy to sell me something from her own stall this time, presenting me with a huge array of cards to choose from.

Mission accomplished, and all in just over an hour. Shopping in Phnom Penh is not without its challenges but today it was very satisfying.


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