I am painfully aware that so many of these blog entries are about very trivial personal triumphs that are of no general interest. Maybe one or two people are interested. Like when I finally figured out how to do without a refrigerator OR an ice chest. (September 16) Or devising a stoop for my camper using a wooden pallet. Candy helped me with that. (Candy's comment under June 20 and my follow up entry and photo at June 24) . Or finally discovering an easy way to remove the empty propane tank from this camper when it is set up. (All three entries of September 30).
Hell, I have even shared my grocery list with you and told you what I could not find. Little Debbie's individually wrapped Oatmeal Creme Pies. I am not missing Little Debbie nearly as much anymore by the way. But if anyone is coming down here. . . . Those are just a few examples.
I write that sort of thing while I am idling between road trips or fiestas or the like, as I am right now. Those entries are mostly for me to reread at some future date when I am in the rest home and my luck has finally run out—if I make it as far as the rest home. I am not sure I want to make it that far. I will change my mind later no doubt. At any rate, I myself wish to remember that stuff. And this entry is another one of those. You are fairly warned. Goodbye to some of you.
I have been trying to wean myself from driving to that Mega Store at the other end of town for groceries and supplies. The Mexican Super Target with the supermarket. The reason for this entry is to report that I am doing quite well in that regard.
I was entirely enamored of the big open markets from the first time I saw them. Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, Ignacio Ramirez Market.Tianguis del Martes, The Tuesday Market. I have not yet hit the third big open market here. Rustic, I understand. But one needs to get one's Spanish to a certain level before really taking advantage of them. Those are not bilingual establishments. Well actually, nothing is bilingual that I am interested in, and I am getting there.
There are other problems though. To and from Ignacio Ramirez Market is quite a hump for me on foot with the cloth grocery sacks. It is not a place you even want to consider driving to and trying to park nearby. It is downtown. The rustic one is even further. As far as The Tuesday Market is concerned, I must drive there. It is way the hell out on the other side on the edge of town. But when I do drive, that is usually where I am driving to.
The temptation of the Mega Store arises out of the simple fact that it is a Mexican Super Target with supermarket. The white box layout is familiar to me. I can go there with a list and be fairly assured of finding everything I need in one trip. Lastly it is not just a grocery store. There always seems to be some little piece of hardware or clothing item of some sort that I need, too.
But goddamnit, I did not come to México to go to Target. Know what I mean? That is not why I am here. I am still not exactly sure why I am here, but that definitely is not it. I was like many of you back home, bitching about Walmart and going there anyway. In addition, as cheap as the Mega Store is, it is still overpriced compared to the alternatives.
What are the alternatives? That is where my great progress comes in. First, this place is like a French city in that if you want meat, you need to go to the butcher shop. If you want bread, you need to go to the bakery. If you want milk, butter, and eggs, you need to stop by the little tienda--store--that sells those. There are shops here that sell only cheese. If you want fruits and vegetables, you need to go to the fruits and vegetables place. There is always a version of these tiny places nearby.
The fresh fruits and vegetables are a bit of an exception. They are commonly sold on the sidewalk or out of the back of a truck parked somewhere, and you have to be ready to jump. I bought a bunch of fresh asparagus on the spur of the moment from a guy out of his bucket when I bumped into him just the other day. The little fruits and vegetable shops proper also tend to be open irregularly. The local people seem to magically know the hours.
So now, you can see the problem already. You need to know where those little places are and what they carry. You also must plan your route so that you are not walking all over creation to get what you need. But I am doing it now.
Abarottes San Antonio
I have been remiss lately in keeping my camera in my pocket. Like when I failed to get a picture of Señora Pollos Enteros, Mrs. Whole Chicken, and her shop. I will do better and get some pictures of some of these little places, although I feel like a fool sometimes taking pictures in those kinds of places. But I will, and I will let you know when I have added them here.
I need to prove to you that I am not kidding about my progress, that you can take me seriously for once.