I am learning so much, bursting with information about this country.
Today, thanks to daughter-in-law, I learned that cotton has a high carbon footprint and Tencel or Lyocell is a more sustainable fabric. It is regenerated from wood cellulose, similar in hand to rayon and bamboo, both regenerated fabrics. However, Tencel is one of the most environmentally friendly regenerated fabrics, and for several reasons. Tencel fibres are grown sustainably.
So we went shopping for fabric for more dresses for myself. The fabric shop sits in a row of shops between two busy roads with access from each road. Every colour and hue imaginable is here stacked on the back wall of the shop, the width of the area between the two roads, piled high on the long wooden counter to the right and on the left there are banks of material some looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The young man deftly pulls out the bales of cloth we wish to examine and the stack above doesn’t topple. Some fabrics are beaded, embroidered and bejewelled. However the shop has no electricity and we don’t enquire why.
We choose two fabrics, a deep blue with elephants along the border and the other with huge flowers along the border in pink and turquoise. The 2017 fashion statement is everything with embroidery on it, so you heard it here first. The fabric for the two dresses cost €11.50.
We go supermarket shopping. The in-laws here would not approve of supermarket food as they buy everything locally off the little pop up stalls that open daily on the road into the town. They say supermarket food is not fresh.
And the local food is delicious, tomatoes, carrots and green beans, were part of yesterday’s meal and so full of flavour.
But it’s good to wander around a supermarket and find out what I can and can’t buy. I can get Sensodyne toothpaste and Haagen Das ice cream. There is no Aussie shampoo but a choice of others.
Most of the toiletries I packed are available here and are less expensive than I paid at home.
I am fascinated how the food preparation is done in this house. Fresh food is prepared and cooked three times a day and Sumitra wields what looks similar to a scabbard with a perfectly round solid dark wooden handle. She slices vegetables and a myriad of foods so thinly you would be forgiven if you thought a machine had done the work. And work she does – from when she rises after 5 am and walks up the lanes picking flowers for the Buddha – to clearing up after the evening meal around 9 pm.
The scabbard shaped knife was used to neatly and efficiently to crush garlic cloves. A brisk turn and a slap of the round handle of the knife on the garlic clove did the necessary.
There are lots of dried food available in the supermarket, bins filled with all types of rice and there are sacks of different types of rice you can buy. We bought some fruit and vegetables and a young man weighs your purchases and slaps a price sticker on the white plastic bag. They still have plastic bags here for free but there are loads of them flying about on a windy day.
Have a look at this kitchen tool. Can you guess what it is? The white flakes will give the game away. The coconut is put over the metal teeth and Sumitra cranks the handle round and round until she has shredded all the coconut from its shell. I have never seen one before and didn’t know how they got the white coconut out of the husk.