Saturday, December 24, 2016

Shopping Camiri

Lest you think that we live the easy missionary life, I decided to do a blog on how we shop here in Camiri. I must say that I think shopping is the hardest thing about living here. Not only do you have to do all of your shopping in outdoor markets, the selection is very limited and the vegetables are not usually very fresh. Even in Cochabamba we had MUCH more selection for foods and such, as well as super fresh vegetable selections. If you go in the afternoon it is HOT and smelly. The afternoon I took these pictures was close to 100 degrees! The other challenge is that you have to find parking for your car and then hike around carrying all of your groceries. One day Rudi (who, by the way, does most of our shopping) went to 12 different stores/market areas to get our groceries. It is just flat out exhausting. Thankfully, we live close to the center of town where the majority of the shopping is. I do enjoy walking out and getting this or that when I am not under pressure and it is not too hot out, in other words, not very often!!

The girls are standing in front of a hardware store. Our boys
practically live at these stores buying supplies for their many projects!

The market where I buy my veggies. You can also buy dry goods and some
canned goods, oil, etc. here.
 As I said before, I took these pictures in the afternoon when everyone takes their siesta. This meat alley pictured below usually has meat hanging in front of every shop. Just a couple die hards were out selling the day I took this! You can also purchase parts of the whole cow or pig. They sell it all but the squeal!
Meat alley in the afternoon. This is where you buy beef and pork.
 The picture below shows the chicken and cheese section. My picture turned out blurry, but the cheese ladies all sell on the counter to the right! Each lady has her rounds of cheese stacked in front of her. You can kinda see the cheese rounds that they cut your hunk off. One of the ladies had gone home and had wrapped all of her cheeses in a sheet for while she was gone. The cheese is very salty and pretty much all the same, but our cheese lady is good at finding a cheese that will melt and work for pizza, etc. You do develop a taste for the cheese here and I actually like it now!! I do not ever buy the chickens that have their feet attached. I do have a limit!!!!
Chicken and Cheese... Ahh!!! Don't forget the lemons to go with!!!
 I have really had to change how I cook. Our meals are pretty much veggies, meat, eggs, potatoes, rice, cheese and bread, but rotated to seem more interesting!!! You might say we are on a "whole foods"diet, as there is just not very much that comes already prepared. I only purchase one canned food and that is a tomato paste product that I make all of my spagetti, chili, lasagna, and pizza sauces from. I forgot, we also buy tuna in a can! We do buy noodles and when we are in Santa Cruz we stock up on flour tortillas. We don't suffer too much, because we make a lot of  treats in the house like cookies, cakes, and pies!! They also have super yummy ice cream here, so I can't complain too much!!
This is the shop where I buy eggs sometimes, as well as all my dry
 Another challenge is that you will go to a store to buy something and they will be out of, for example, bread or cream, and not just for a day or two, but sometimes up to two weeks. I often purchase the last plain yogurt from the shop pictured below and then ask every week if they have more in, for a few weeks before they finally do! It is VERY common to go by a shop that you went to yesterday at the same time, and it will be closed for no apparent reason. Or they will tell you to come back in the afternoon, because they are sold out of the item you want. You go back in the afternoon and they tell you to come back for it tomorrow morning, you go back in the morning and they tell you.... You get the idea. It can quickly become a treasure hunt you really didn't want to do or have time for. You do learn to make time for shopping, because it takes up a lot of time, whether you want it to or not!!!
Pil is our milk products store. 

Toilet paper and cleaning supplies store.
 And last, but not least, our post office! I cannot figure out their schedule, if they have one! If they happen to be open, you pop in and ask if you have mail. They don't give you a P.O. box key, because then the fella sitting there would not have anything to do. The fella walks over and sees if you have mail and gives it to you if you do! I think there are around a hundred P.O. boxes in a city of about 30,000 people. That will give you an idea of how much people use the postal service. This is also the ONLY post office in town.
Camiri Post Office
So there you have it, a little bit about the shopping experience in Camiri. Next time you are cruising the air conditioned (or heated for this time of year!) aisles of Costco or Trader Joe's pushing your cart, filling it with exotic and tempting foods, trying to decide of you should purchase the organic or conventional brand of bread (yogurt, milk, veggies, ad infinitum!), think of me in Camiri, I am happy if my store is just open and has the one choice available to sell me!!!

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