Each time we move to a new place, there are some things we have to adjust to doing without. For example, no one drinks attaya (Senegalese tea) in the US, you can’t buy Dr Pepper at the grocery store in France, and in Senegal I can’t find fresh milk. (Cold glass of powdered Nido milk, anyone?)

But there is one thing that I’ve never had to adjust to doing without. And it’s a good thing too, ‘cause I’m not sure I could survive in a place that didn’t have Coca-Cola.

Fanta Orange and Coca-Cola

I don’t care if it’s poured from a 2-liter bottle over crushed ice in America, straight from a heavy aluminum can in France or out of a lukewarm glass bottle in Senegal.

I am so, so thankful that I can walk into any restaurant, store, gas station, shop or stand and buy a Coke. I don’t do it every day (largely because of the little replica of my mother-in-law sitting on my shoulder reminding me that it’s not good for the baby), but at least a couple times a week (when I give in to the little replica of my Cocal-Cola-loving mom on the other shoulder), I get a small bottle of Coke from the local buutik.

The local buutik

In the US, the word ‘boutique’ doesn’t convey the same meaning as in Senegal, but they come from the same French word meaning ‘shop’. Here a buutik is a small shop that’s like corner store: a little bit of everything that you might need in daily life.

Oil, flour, sugar, eggs, tomato paste, tea, matches, candles, batteries, candy, bread, soap, bug spray…

Another buutik in the neighborhood

The number of items they can cram into such a small space is truly impressive. And they always make room for a couple bottles of Coke.

You can buy a small bottle (single-serving size) or a large half-liter size. Both are glass, but the smaller one requires a bottle opener while the larger one has a plastic twist-off top.

One important thing to know is that when you buy drinks at a buutik, you pay to ‘rent’ the bottle as well. When you bring the glass bottles back to the buutik, you’ll get a refund.

Hmm… is anyone else feeling a little thirsty?