Friday, October 06, 2006

Paddy's Market

Sydney is expensive! That was our overwhelming impression in the first few weeks of living here. I mean, bananas at $12 a kilo? Wow! But we've been learning the ropes slowly.

Lesson one: The US enjoys a large range in latitude over a connected land mass, from Chile to Canada, and bananas (or any other fruit, for that matter) are always in season somewhere along that range. But due to all the worry about non-native species running wild, Australia is very careful about imports, and so fruits and vegetables are very seasonal in Australia. Apparently the cyclones last season haven't helped matters either.

Lesson two: You pay a lot more for the convenience of supermarkets here. If you go seek out fruit markets or local farmers' markets instead, prices get better. And if you find your way to a local bazaar like Paddy's Market in Chinatown, prices are even ... reasonable. On the downside, you do have to deal with massive crowds, screaming Chinese vendors, prices that vary based on the buyer's ethnicity or the seller's mood, and a decidedly non-supermarket ambience...
Paddy's MarketIn fact, what Paddy's market really resembles is a combination of New Market and local bazaars in Calcutta, for those of you who are familiar with that: the noise, the crowds, the stalls, the vendors screaming prices, the barely-controlled frenzy...

So here are the results of our first expedition to Paddy's Market:
GroceriesAll this for $19.06 (AUD). That works out to about US $14.20, or INR 648 - a good deal by US prices, but not down to Indian prices, of course.

And yes, still no bananas.

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