One thing that has taken a little bit of getting used to is the shopping. Pretty much everything you need exists at different stores… requiring you to walk all over the darn city in search of some simple nail polish.
Now, at home, I admittedly tend to visit more stores than needed simply because I prefer to shop local – spices, wine, bread, hummus, cheese, salsa from the public market, veggies/fruits from Whole Foods or farmers markets, Pick N’ Save or Metro Market for the household necessities, Blush on Water Street for makeup, etc. If I wasn’t so focused on getting local when possible, however, I could choose from Pick N Save, Metro Market, Whole Foods, or Wal-Mart… heck, even target!…. to get pretty much everything in one spot. The American in me definitely appreciates that.
Here, it’s quite the opposite story. The cross-selling American mentality has not hit. You go to the grocery stores for just that- groceries. The pharmacy is the spot for “health and beauty” needs – lotion, tylenol, cough syrup, a small selection of makeup, etc. CD stores (yep, full CD stores still exist here!) are the only places to get music. Besides that, there are quite the variety of other little stores for random needs. When I was at the grocery store the other day, I asked someone where to find hair tyes. They looked at my like I was a crazy gringa. Nope, no hair tyes there.
On a side note, I have no idea how the pharmacies make enough money to make it, but there are about 4-5 chains of pharmacies and they are literally EVERYWHERE. And, right next to each other. I’ll take some pics on my next trip out so you can see.
I still have not managed to find where the heck I can find my nail polish remover, hair tyes, or bobby pins. I’m missing Target. This post came out of slight frustration after walking around everywhere in search of nail polish remover. I was wearing a super dark navy blue so the chips were… obvious and annoying to say the least. I walked around for a good week, chipping away in my free time, before finally picking away and getting it off myself.
I’ll write more later on the ferias – the markets – because those are the best places to do any food shopping. The grocery stores are mainly best for the non-perishable items (including milk and unrefrigerated eggs!) as it is so much cheaper, and cooler, at the ferias.