29,400 beng-bengs

My biggest challenge living here is grocery shopping. Back home, there were more than a dozen different grocery stores within a 10-mile radius of our house. Pretentiously over-priced fine food stores. Nationwide run-of-the-mill chain stores. Whole food, organic markets with visions of sustainability and green energy. And, family-owned and operated stores struggling to survive. They were peppered all around me.

The only option for grocery shopping in Tembagapura is the Hero grocery store, which is about the size of a typical Walgreens or CVS. The primary advantage that I have when shopping at the Hero is that I’m a daily shopper. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m too lazy to plan a weekly menu, or if I just like to buy the freshest products available. Probably a little bit of both.

Daily shopping is an advantage because very few things at the Hero are constant; what they have today may not be there tomorrow, or, ever again, for that matter. I’ve even been warned that hoarding is common practice among the women here!

I visited the Hero this afternoon with a fairly short and simple grocery list; tomatoes, peanut butter, maple syrup, canned black beans, and eggs. There were no tomatoes. The empty spaces where peanut butter and maple syrup are sometimes stocked, were just that, empty. I didn’t even see a single can of black beans.

It was a futile and frustrating shopping experience that almost turned hostile when I walked down the center isle and saw six shelving units completely stocked, from top to bottom, with beng-beng chocolate bars. It was such an incredibly absurd spectacle that I couldn’t help but stop in my tracks. I set my empty grocery basket down beside me, rifled through my backpack until I found my cell phone, and then figured out, right then and there, just how many chocolate bars I was looking at. Six shelving units, seven shelves on each unit, twenty-eight boxes/shelf, and twenty-five bars/box = 29,400 beng-bengs.

I left the store with one dozen eggs and a beng-beng.

This photo only shows five of the six shelving units.  I couldn't back up enough to capture all six units.

This photo only shows five of the six shelving units. I couldn’t back up enough to capture all six of them.

In my opinion, beng-bengs taste similar to Mr. Big chocolate bars (a Canadian variety).  Ally and Kylee think they taste similar to Samoas (Girl Scout cookies).

The beng-beng cost 1,390 RP, or approximately 11 cents in US dollars. In my opinion, beng-bengs taste similar to Mr. Big chocolate bars (a Canadian variety). Ally and Kylee think they taste similar to Samoas (Girl Scout cookies).

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2 Responses to 29,400 beng-bengs

  1. Don Doody says:

    Wow! That must make it hard! Doesn’t the corporation watch out for things like that? How can you feed your family?

    All is well here. Still no bites on our home. Reduced price to $499,500. We’ll see.


    Sent from my iPad Don Doody 29655 N. 69th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85266 480-585-0937 Cell – 480-213-7541 doodioni@aol.com


  2. Dad says:

    Hi Kriste, Chris and Girls:

    I read with interest the note you sent with your Blog. It brought back memories when I was growing up as a child. When Dad got home from World War II, from England, he purchased a house on a 1/w acre if land, on the corner of 6th Avenue So. and Corvette Crescent. All housing in that area was for returned War Vets.

    The 1/2 acre of land required considerable work, weeding and creating a garden area. I did this when I was Kylee’s age and Dad paid me for doing it. Our neighbor’s children were doing the same thing and getting paid by their parents.

    When we all got paid, we walked down to the nearest grocery store located at the corner of 7th Avenue and 28th Street South. While at the store,we purchased candy, candy and more candy, and the odd soft drink. It was wonderful. Two weeks later, our dad’s paid us again, and we repeated the candy, candy and more candy and a odd soft drink purchase.

    The night before Mom and I got married in July, 1966, I was still living with Mom and Dad in the same house. This was a wonderful way to grow up and I enjoyed it so much, Life was wonderful when I was growing up.

    Your message sure brought memories to me, upon reading your article.

    Kriste, we miss you not being in Arizona, we love you and your family and all four of you are in our prayers every day.

    Love, Dad.

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