Sure we had been to all of the wonders and charms Antigua Guatemala had to offer, including a romantic and fun-filled frolic in the main and authentic market, many sittings in Parque Central, lots of time ogling the arch on the 5th avenida and sighing over that view at Cafe Sky.
But our hearts were equally aflutter when we went to El Bodegon Supermarket on the Alameda Santa Lucia, more or less across the street from the large, traditional and mostly Mayan food market.
Here we found everything from talcum powder to peanut butter and from carrots to wine. The wine, mostly from Chile, was a very good price and about 20 percent cheaper than the same brands and vintages sold in the ritzier quarters of town.
It’s pretty much like a North American supermarket. They have even adopted the “walk the customer ’til they drop” policy found in supermarkets at home. So, of course, the tissues are not next to the bathroom rolls and the milk is not next to the ice cream. Nothing exotic here. Just basic supermarket merchandising tactics.
It was fun to search for familiar items and use my our limited Spanish to find “pickles,” for example, when we didn’t know the word. But generally, we found the staff helpful and willing to put up with our charades and hand signals, efforts we tried to pass off as language. This is a plus point for this supermarket because there are many gringos (some not so polite) wielding their shopping carts down the narrow and somewhat slanting aisles, with many demanding in broken Spanish exactly the things they can buy at home.
In fact, the store is divided into a dry goods, almost Walmart-ish section, where we bought everything from underwear to cork screws to cheater reading glasses. As a matter of fact, as I write this post I am wearing the same cheaters I bought there two years ago for about $1.50 US.
A word of warning, though. Don’t buy the pork rinds. They are bad for you and highly addictive.