Snakes and Electric Fly Swatters

Greg and I do quite a bit of grocery shopping at Lotte Mart, our market of choice, mostly for convenience. We can wheel our grocery cart packed to the rim through the parking lot up to the convenient passage to our apartment complex, then huff our groceries the final 100 years into our building, all to a merry hail of “Halo Mr., Halo Miss…” by the various guards and workers at the apartment. People really are so very nice here! Lotte is the same market that features an wall of instant noodles in every imaginable flavor, an entire aisle of mosquito/fly/cock roach spray, fruit that looks straight off the set of a Star Trek episode and every possible variation of stir fry sauce known to humankind…sometimes I just pick an aisle to explore, trying to figure out the contents of packages based on the pictures.

At any rate, Greg and I were shopping a few days ago picking up the usual suspects; fruits, veggies, some ground chicken, yogurt…mostly healthy stuff with a dark chocolate bar or two thrown in just to remember we’re human. There’s a pretty wide variety of organic choices and prices that are actually affordable, so I buy organic whenever possible, especially eggs. Oh, the eggs. Small in size but they pack a mighty punch with darkest of dark orange yolks and the freshest flavor. Yum. I asked Greg to grab a carton (always only 10 eggs, not a dozen in a carton…interesting) while I finished picking out the fruits and veggies. Not knowing exactly what I wanted, we walked over together to sort through the numerous options. Now, the eggs are conveniently located adjacent to the veggies and fruits which is surrounded by the meat and fish section on two sides. This is the same meat section with neat little packets of chicken heads (complete with eyes, beaks and combs), chicken feet….you get the picture.

And the fresh fish? Well, we do not frequent the fish section at all, like I mean, never. Though somewhat cavalier in my approach to salad bars and street food, I’m pretty careful when eating fish; food poisoning from a bad fish in Peru taught me that lesson the rather unpleasant way. But I digress. As I’m walking to the wall of eggs, I take a look at the fish laid out on unrefrigerated slabs of wood, dead crabs sitting in a bucket with their claws restrained, and even the fresh fish swimming in tanks and decide to take a pass. Imagine my surprise when a large, snake-like eel attempts to escape from it’s watery death by rocket launching itself out of the tank and directly on the floor next to my feet. I’m proud to say I didn’t scream, but it was touch-and-go there for a few seconds. Probably best to wait for the sanctity of the fishmonger back in Olympia.

Where do fly swatters play in to this little walk down memory lane (since I’m finishing this post from Nigeria)? There is a man that works at Lotte Mart who it appears sole job is to sneak surreptitiously around the fresh, uncovered baked goods with an electronic fly swatter to take care of our flying friends. I tried in vain over a ten-month period to catch him in the act with my camera phone, but he was too sneaky for me. I didn’t eat much bread in Indonesia…

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