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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

We Must Be Dreaming - Grocery Shopping Ecstasy

BRAZIL | Tuesday, 22 January 2008 | Views [2024]

Living on the road from town to town, hostel to hostel, bus to bus, we never have truly have access to a big grocery store.   Especially in Latin America, we've tended to shop for groceries at local mom & pop tiendas, as large supermarket type grocery stores, when we actually have kitchen facilities and a fridge to store perishable goods.  Most of our travels, large supermarkets if they do exist, are not anywhere close to where we've landed.  We have mastered the art of shopping for the freshest of goods at the local panaderiá (breads), carneceriá (meats), fruteriá (fruits), and other local veggie/produce stores.  Having our own apartment and a little fridge now presents a whole new world, and our challenge will be fitting what we want to buy in this small cool space.  Our apartment is just a couple of blocks away from Coto (a big grocery chain).

We escape the heat of the day, ducking into Coto, and are overwhelmed with what we find.  This place is huge - two levels - on top is a Target type store where you can get all you cleaning, paper, plastics and other important household goods, including clothing, etc.  The downstairs has everything we'd ever want to eat.  We have no trouble finding "real" orange juice here.  There's an aisle for freshly made pastas, including soft sheets of plump raviolis.  The meat counter is a real treat, and I love the guy behind the counter... he enjoys our daily game of charades, trying to figure out the right name for the hunk of animal lying in the plastic display bin, and which specific part of that animal that we're wanting to eat.  There are aisles of fresh veggies and fruits and the variety is tempting us to buy one of each.  We haven't had fresh fruits and veggies in ages, and now that we can safely use the water from the tap to wash and clean our fresh produce, we're in heaven buying this evenings salad.  The selection of wines is endless, our most difficult decision of the day...  which bottle of Argentinean Malbec shall we try tonight, from the shelves and shelves full of different regions and wineries.  Most bottles are under $5 USD!  There's even a big cereal selection and milk here comes in bags or boxes, none refrigerated like we've become so accustomed to in the US.  Coto does gourmet well... it's like a "mini-Seaside-Cardiff", in San Diego or "Dean and Deluca" in Napa type market with freshly made meals to go, a gourmet cheese, caviar and succulent cuts of exquisitely prepared and seasoned meats... ah, I'm sure this all sounds so "regular daily life" to all of you at home, but after eating out for so long with little or sometimes no choice, this to us is a dream come true.  

While the checkout process is a bit lengthy and arduous, we get the system wired; Darrin stands in line at the checkout when we first enter the store, I cruise the aisles filling the cart, and 40 minutes later we're now at the head of the line.  Our first time at the checkout was a dismal experience... after both of us shopping for two hours, pining over all the mouthwatering options, filling our cart with the freshest of fruits and veggies, we waited in line for another 40 minutes.  At the register, we were unable to purchase any of our veggies or fruits, because we had failed to have them "weighed and priced."  After that painful experience, we always seek out the "weight woman" in the store to be sure we've got the process right.  Our biggest challenge, however, is stuffing everything into the tiny fridge, especially Darrin's 1 Liter bottles of beer that will just have to wait until we eat up some space for them!


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