Monday, April 24, 2006

One thing we do right

Ben and I are not the best travellers, but there is one thing we always do that I strongly recommend to anyone who travels: visit grocery stores. Grocery stores offer a surprising glimpse into local culture. Who knew, for instance, that the expat grocery store in poverty stricken Guinea, West Africa, had a better selection of French cheese (flown in daily on an Air France flight) than Austin? That beef in Wales is labelled with the county and region, and you could purchase meat from that county, the one next door, or the general region (why Texas beef ranchers haven't started doing this, I do not know)? Grocery stores have been endless sources of delight, cheap meals, and inexpensive souvenirs. Try it next time you travel!

1 comment:

Prentiss Riddle said...

The romantic in me has almost been disappointed as supermarkets in Mexico have gotten closer to their Gringolandian counterparts over the years. You can still find very Mexican produce markets everywhere, of course, but you can also find places not so far off from HEB.

I remember the first time I saw an electric cash register in India. Shocking! I think people were paying a 50% markup for the privilege of self-serve shopping in a store with aisles and pricetags on the merchandise. Of course for me that was still cheaper than the automatic markup foreigners got in the regular haggling-based market. My Indian friends used to make me wait out of sight while they bought things; even being seen with me would double their prices.