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One FINEST Day

Who hates doing groceries?
Some people do. I don’t.
It’s one of the things I loved doing in Manila and in Dubai especially when I have enough cash to fill my cart. I find it therapeutic and relaxing going over rows and rows of goodies and what-nots. I delight in seeing the colorful packaging of items, you can almost hear each bottle or can waving its hand at you to grab it. Sometimes I join the fun watching product demos or satisfy my curiosity in free taste kiosks. I could spend a lot of time…
And it is one activity I miss since I came to Afghanistan. Going to a PX run is one huge task (from submitting a request, the movement, inspection/entry at the base which could take a while depending on the procedure, which often changes) and getting in the base (PX) only to find out that stocks are low or they ran out of the things you need is frustrating.   
A few days before Christmas 2010, my supervisor, Teresa, arranged a local supermarket run to get supplies for our Christmas Party. That means no DFAC food or pizza and chicken from the in-camp bar that we always order from. I was curious about doing groceries here, so I tagged along with Teresa and Kuya Robert to Finest Supermarket. Finest is one of the few prime supermarkets in Kabul, a popular choice for expats who are privileged(?) to go around town and experience Kabul like any normal city.
 
I was pleasantly suprised that Finest is so far from the image I had in mind. From the facade alone, I am already excited. The shop looks well-maintained, the window-size colorful posters gives it a warm and more welcoming feel. The supermarket is not dotted with security, there are no T-walls or bunkers. It is not “safe” but it exudes a feeling of “normality”.
I almost can’t believe it. There I was, in a supermarket in Kabul without my vest on, but with security within our reach at all times. When you have been sheltered and “protected” 99.9% of the time, the 1% when you are not feels sooooo good. 
 
Once inside I was more delighted. I didn’t know a “complete” and “well-maintained” supermarket exists here that displays properly stacked international brands. The first floor holds the food, souvenirs and beauty and hygiene section. The second floor had housewares, cooking wares and other home stuff; dog food even! There are also toys for children on display.
 
We filled our cart with our most of our checklist ticked, then went back to the camp 🙂 
It was just one fine day in most parts of the world. Here, three brave souls dared to go shopping and possibly had one of the finest and most daring experiences in their Afghan life… 
Postscript:Almost a month after our supermarket run, Finest Supermarket was bombed by Talibans killing nine.
“Delight in the little things.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

 
 



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