Thursday, June 5, 2008

How much does an orange cost?

I never think about how much produce costs. I always just go to the grocery store and pick what I want. Buying fruits and vegetable is always non-negotiable. They're part of a healthy diet.

In the cab today on my way to meet a friend for coffee, I struck up a conversation with the cab driver. He started to ramble off all the fruits that Canada grows and which Panama imports...apples, pears, and there was one other one that I forget.

Then he asked me how much an orange costs. An orange? I had no freaking idea (but that's mainly because oranges are not my fruit of choice. I get my vitamin C from apple juice). The cost of a pear? Not a clue. An apple? Forget about it. I just buy fruit and have no idea how much it costs.

I don't know how much any kind of basic necessity costs at home.

But I do know that in Panama, the middle and lower classes are struggling when it comes to food prices. The price of a pound of rice -- one of the most consumed basic foods -- has doubled from $0.25 to $0.50. Taxi drivers buy gas one dollar at a time. And when I ask Panamanians the price of basic items and by how much they have increased, they can rattle off the prices without hesitation.

And I don't even know how much an orange costs.