Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shop-o-rama, Rural Mexico Style

I went food shopping just yesterday. Other than veggies (ok, and some spices) I shouldn't need to buy anything ever again. Except I *really* wanted a sarong (cost in Cancun-75 pesos, cost on mystery island X- 230 pesos) and the smallest bill I had was a 500 peso note- a good couple days to a week's pay for one of the local fisherman-types. Obviously the veggie guy wasn't going to be able to break it- I'm lucky he has a scale (which I'm certain has a "tourista" setting). Heck, even the lady @ the (expensive) touristy gift shop had to go down the block for change.

Lesson #1- anything bigger than a m$50 note is too big to pay anything other than a (spendy) dinner bill, (large) bar tab, hotel, or (multi-night) hostel stay.

So, sarong and change in hand, I wandered off to the supermercado. I'll try and get photos, but I'm more of an empty-street kinda girl. At the grocery store I splurged. I was actually there for a can of beans, some vinegar, a couple potatoes, and spices. The potatoes were looking kinda sad, so I skipped them, and I forgot the spices entirely.

Don't worry, though, I made up for that with the island's cheapest (that I've found yet) bottle of (who knows what kind of) red wine- for 50 pesos.

Then it was off to hunt down the "good" veggie place. I've got a better Idea where it is... now. After wandering around for a while and finding the other, larger, grocery store- where I bought a (refrigerated, yummy) milky way bar... for 11 pesos. And forgot the spices again.

Wandered around a bit longer, and found the place I was looking for. Picked up the world's smallest head of cabbage and two white potatoes. Yummy white potatoes. My Spanish is *really* bad, by the way. And I guess I look totally clueless, too. I wanted cabbage. I *like* cabbage. It tastes good, it's good for you, it's (kinda, sometimes) cheap, and it doesn't turn into strange gelatinous slime when left out over night.

I, in fact, love cabbage.

I must be the only tourist who does, too, since the proprietor tried to tell me it wasn't lettuce. That he, in fact, *had* lettuce. I understood none of this, and looked, I'm convinced, more and more confused the harder he tried to explain. Finally someone else pulled out a head of lettuce from the fridge. Ah ha, I got it.

"No," I said. I pointed at the (very small, kinda sad looking) cabbage in his hand and pulled out a word I'd looked up on google just last night. "Col," I said, with a kinda questioning sound, "si? Col." Finally, convinced that I actually *might* know the difference between cabbage and lettuce, he weighed and sold it to me. With the potatoes. For 15 pesos. Always 15 pesos. Or else it's 1.5 and he's been robbing me blind.

And just think, tonight he gets to tell everyone he runs into about una loca gringa (um... yeah...) who actually *wanted* cabbage. I suspect that if I'd used one of my other words, you know, the ones I'm actually fairly comfortable using, I could have told him "want cabbage" instead of just (I'm pretty sure) "cabbage?"

Oh, well, that's a job for tomorrow. Or, rather Monday. I should probably go grab another onion, while everything is still open.

Total spent today? I don't wanna talk about it. But actual "food" was a very tiny part. No more shopping for me. Not this month, anyway.


  1. Next time you want some cabbage as for "repollo" pronounced "re po yo" Good luck! :)

  2. Ooh, I saw that as an option on google, but I went with the one that showed up in both google *and* my very crappy english-spanish dictionary. Might be time to find a new dictionary.

  3. I think a new dictionary would be good. lol.. Be glad to help you translate anytime.