Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Magazines and Other Imported Stuff in Chacala

Another Guadalupe painting, during a procession on December 12th, her day.
Most of the time I don't actually want or need stuff from the US. But magazines and a few food items seem to be exceptions. And of course, PV has places like McDonald's, KFC Subway, Burger King , Pizza Hut, Domino's etc for those really, really desperate moments. The only one of those that occasionally attracts me is a grilled chicken sandwich from Mcdonald's. Which I could just as easily make myself at home. But the fries are really good. And Mexican Cokes are so much better. They use a different sugar and it's delicious.

But access to English language magazines is difficult and expensive here in Mexico. I have always been a magazine lover/addict/fanatic, and had tons of subscriptions. To architecture, house, gardening, Buddhism and travel magazines mostly. There are lots of magazines in Spanish here. Although the first two years I was here there were no magazines (Spanish) for sale in Las Varas, or Chacala. Now there are a few yucky ones in each town.

The airport in PV has the most English-language magazines in the area. And PV is the closest town with English magazines, as far as I know. They arrive weekly, on Wednesday. So if I am going to make a shopping trip to PV, I go on Wednesday. Hit the airport first. The magazines all have all $3-5 US dollar surcharge, I guess for shipping. But at least we have magazines. Plus there's about four other places that carry some US magazines, and possibly some of the big hotels do too. But all the magazine selling places have been cut off for the last couple of months. Well, most of them. Don't know for how long.

When I first came to Mexico they didn't have peanut butter, and now they do. The sugar kind. But they did have SaraLee. Which they rarely have any more. Cashews are a big hit here, for about the same price as the US. They come and go. Once Comerciale, a big Mexican chain, had Neutrogena Clean shampoo, a favorite of mine. I bought all five bottles for about $2.70 US each. Never saw them again, and the bottles I got are long gone.

Anyway. Shopping is certainly an adventure. I stock up on stuff that I want, because you never know when you will see it again. Once some PV market had those tubs of Betty Crocker creamy chocolate frosting. about $3.50 US each. I bought three and never found them again. Chocolate chips are the same way. Now you see them, now you don't. People still ask me if I have any more of that frosting. It was a big hit around here.

The biggest shopping problem for me is getting stuff home. If I shop in PV every second or third week, it is very difficult to carry my groceries, plus my new-used books and some magazines, usually. I can only buy as much as I can carry, which is hard.

Once I leave the final store of my big shopping trip I can either walk across a large, no-shade, hot parking lot and across a terrible highway to the bus stop, or take a cab. If I take the bus It's very difficult to manage my stuff, plus it's a block walk from the bus stop to the long-distance bus terminal. The taxi used to be $3 US a trip and now it's $5. Then I take the bus to Las Varas (2 hours) and then I have another choice. I check as the bus drives by the collectivo stop and see if the collectivo is there or it looks like there are Chacala people waiting. If it looks good I take the collectivo. 90 cents. But that requires walking three blocks back to the stop with all my stuff. Usually someone helps me though. Or, I spend $6 and take a taxi home and the driver helps me with my stuff from right at the terminal. Expensive choices.


myahspirit said...

My hubby thinks that we will try to miss the religous thems in Mexico my going into the Mountians, then going to Chacala, I would like to experance the events but will wait until he decides it is the right time to enventure into Chacala. I know that both of us are looking forward to meeting you.

Deborah Midkiff said...

How difficult is it to receive packages in Chacala? If something is from the US, do they open them? I wouldn't care, so much, but I would want to be sure it reaches its destination. Can you give me some information on this?

Brenda said...

Shopping is definately an adventure and more of a social outing here in Mexico than in Canada. We had trouble finding peanut butter here last winter also, so when I would find it I would buy 2 or 3 jars. Now it is easier to find for some reason. I agree that Mexican coca cola tastes better, when we returned to Canada for 3 mths. I really noticed the difference. I actually enjoy shopping here; in Canada I used to dread going for groceries.