The town I live in, Puerto Cayo, is a quaint little 5,000 person fishing village – sweet, quiet, rural – here is a picture of one of the main streets leading to the town square. You can find a few basic things here in some small “tiendas” (shops), but any major shopping has to be done at least 30 minutes away – and the closest thing to what we think of as a major grocery is an hour away in the coastal city of Manta. Thank goodness for my wonderful new next door neighbor – a kind, helpful man from Ethiopia named Mesfin. Mesfin has a beautiful home here in Puerto Cayo, as well as a car, and he is more than happy to allow his friends & neighbors to accompany him on his weekly shopping trip to Manta. So today we went for my first trip to SuperMaxi! Here is the place where you can find much of what we are used to in the United States in some form (would you believe even TRESemme shampoo?!) Of course, it is still not all the choices we are used to in the United States, (Charcoal and I are both going to have to adjust to non-clumping cat litter) but it certainly is good enough to make you feel you are living a civilized life. Some things are more expensive than in the states (mostly whatever is imported) and other things are the same or less. But I was even able to buy ground beef and fresh, boneless chicken breasts! I am thrilled that I will not have to purchase a whole chicken hanging in an outdoor market! (Click on a picture below to scroll through the gallery and see larger images – then close out the “x” in the upper left corner to return to the blog).
After a three hour shopping excursion, I am set up with supplies, food and a few treats! Mesfin dropped us off and ran other errands, then picked us back up and we all went for a treat at his favorite Manta spot. Today’s passengers included Samuel from Switzerland, who lives across the street (my friend Steve Watkins interviewed this fascinating man in his blog in January – click on this link to read it: Interview with Samuel) and Bill and Elaine from Canada, who are renting the upstairs condo.
Manta is a great place to find some “comforts,” but you cannot beat the local, fresh produce in my area. We returned home and walked into town and I bought these 9 bananas and a pineapple for $1.75! All in all it was a fun and successful day. We returned from the store in the late afternoon and I was a bit warm from all the activity, so of course the solution was a dip in the ocean – ahhhh, refreshing!