Monday, January 25, 2010
Fifty Dirham a Day
Fifty dirham is about seven dollars. Right now, I am on a tight budget (due to the fact that I am trying to save money for a trip to the U.S.) and have found it necessary to limit my spending to a mere 50 dirham a day this last week before I am due to get paid. That’s pretty tough. I must spend 20 dirham for the taxi to and from work. That leaves 30 dirham for food. But it’s do-able!
I can make a breakfast of eggs and baguette for 3 dirham. For lunch, I can have a bowl of soup and some bread for 5 dirham. That leaves a whopping 22 dirham for dinner. I can buy a hearty keftah (hamburger) sandwich for 20 dirham but you can see your diet is then filled with a lot of bread. It’s no wonder a lot of people who live on a small amount of money get fat. In order to fill up one must eat a lot of starches. But if I am really ambitious, or find someone to cook for me, a tagine of fresh vegetables with a smaller amount of meat can be prepared for that same 20 dirham.
You can buy a lot of starchy foods for little money; like crepes, deep fried potatoes, rounds of bread, french fries and rice. Peanuts are cheap,too. If you want to snack on a paper cone filled with freshly roasted peanuts or seeds, it will cost you 2 dirham. But you have to wait until the night when the nuts and seeds are roasted. Otherwise, you risk getting soft, unappetizing nuts or seeds that won’t crack open. If you want cashews, you have to spend 4x that amount.
There is also a healthy and cheap soup called bisarah that is made from mashed fava beans with copious amounts of olive oil poured on top. But I hate fava beans. All beans and olives are plentiful, nourishing and cheap. But I hate most beans and all olives. So I turn to alternatives.
Fresh fruit can be very reasonable. Right now, strawberries are in season and 2 small baskets of this delicious fruit are only 6 dirham. Oranges are in season, too and provide the means for fresh orange juice each morning. I prefer to prepare my own as many street vendors unnecessarily add sugar to the juice. And fresh pastries are offered daily for 1 dirham a piece.
Most of the time, I can eat and drink whatever I choose. But right now, every day is posing a minor challenge. But I make a game of it in my mind and feel victorious when I stick to the 50 dirham a day budget. But I do confess I wouldn’t like to have to do this everyday. I think of the families that live on the 50 dirham a day and marvel at their ability to do so, day in and day out.
When I arrived at work the other day there was a notice on the bulletin board. The center is switching over to a new payroll system and our paychecks will be delayed for another week.
Oh dear! I think I might have to dip into my savings afterall. Thank God I have some!
Posted by Water Dragon at 5:51 AM