Mexican Grocery Trip

17 Feb

I am a huge fan of exploring the local culture of the places we visit.  I want my kids to get away from the fancy hotels and touristy shops and learn about how real people live in other parts of this amazing world we share.  What better way to learn this skill then by grocery shopping right alongside the locals?

Our Playa del Carmen, Mexico grocery excursion was well planned, just as all our vacation plans.  I researched stores, distances from our condo and how we would safely return with 4 kids and bags full of groceries.  Check.  I’m a planner and I have this I thought.  Let me 1st tell you that a one mile walk at 9 a.m. in 90 degree weather with more humidity than you can imagine sucks!  The streets were uneven, sidewalks were missing, kids were complaining, and did I say that it was really hot?  I can’t forget to mention that I enjoyed one more cerveza than I should have the night before and the double shot iced latte wasn’t helping make the walk any easier.  After a couple wrong turns and a few circles around the block we had arrived to our shopping destination, Mega!  I don’t think a grocery store has ever looked better.  All I could think of was air conditioning!

My vision of a relaxing and leisurely shopping trip was thrown away as fast as I walked through the doors.  The place was packed.  I don’t mean packed like Costco the day before Thanksgiving packed…it was insane.  Extended families with a lot of kids, screaming babies, and grandparents along for the ride.  Obviously, I didn’t realize that it was payday in Mexico and shopping was a full family event.  We navigated through the store with aisles full of boxes, wood pallets, and people restocking shelves.  We managed to get some of what we needed, learn that avocados were sold out, and not permanently lose any of our  children.  We filled 2 carts, spent over $300 and left with food for only 1 dinner and about a  month worth of snacks.  But hey, we did purchase Hello Kitty toilet paper (you never know when that may come in handy).  We hopped into a beat up Nissan Sentra taxi surrounded by all of the junk we bought, never went back, and ate out all but 1 dinner.  Lesson learned…have the refrigerator stocked  when you arrive at your destination and look for that cultural experience in a cute and charming local market.  While a nightmare at the time, that had to be one of the top 3 travel stories to make us laugh!

The saying says, “A picture says a thousand words”.   Well, this one lies.  We sure look like a calm and relaxed family after a successful and educational grocery shopping experience.  Not exactly the case…

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