Friday is Market Day here in downtown Atenas. It is an outdoor open market. We save this day to buy all our produce. We shop for meat items locally, as needed. We drive into Escazu for staples in bulk and imported items that we want to remind us of the US (Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, for example).
There are so many shopping differences, I think I could spend a whole month comparing. I won’t have to worry about one of them today. I will be taking some reusable cloth bags to store the purchased produce in, so hopefully the bags won’t have to be checked.
Here, when you enter a store, if you have any bags on you (a purse being the exception) you have to check the bag in at the entrance of the store. There are attendants who will place your items either in a cubby or a locker. Many grocery stores and department stores have a row of lockers, where you can deposit items yourself. It’s similar to water parks, bus stations, etc. without the charge. The key is in the lock. You lock your items in and carry the key around the store with you. When you’ve purchased your items and are leaving, don’t forget to get your stuff out of the locker.
Backpacks are included in the “must check” list. So it helps to either carry your passport in your purse or use a small money belt that stays on you. It’s just too unnerving to give your bag over to a stranger, with your passport or other important items, and then walk away.
I don’t enjoy shopping. I’m the kind of person who knows what they want, likes to get in and out, and be on my way. But since the fresh market varies, it’s not going to be a quick trip. Today’s shopping will be a cultural experience in and of itself. I’m going to make the most of it. Our fridge is nearly empty, so I hope we find some really fresh goods to restock it with.