Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Wyona spotted the Carrefour, an international chain grocery store on our way home from looking for tours. I have been having cravings for fruit and vegetables. There was only one small isle at the back which took care of both fruits and vegetables. The potatoes still had lots of dirt on them. That is a good way to know they are organic. There were only 8 mangoes for sale. No papayas. No fresh berries, though lots of grapes. I had imagined a steady diet of mangos and papayas in South America.  I was wrong.

We bought the standard oranges, apples and bananas. “We wouldn’t buy those at home,” Wyona said looking at the blemishes on all of the fruit. I reminded her that the oranges we buy at home are waxed and dyed. That makes look good to us but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy for us or any better than the blemished ones.

Then Wyona wanted to go up and down all of the isles of the stores to look, as though we were shopping at home. I liked that idea so I did the isles as well. That is where I saw lots of canned vegetables. And every home must be making lots of pizza and pasta for there were large cellophane packages of oregano, turmeric, and paprika, bigger amounts than I see at home in my own grocery store. I would have to go off to the speciality Indian spice store to get packages that large.

I am not used to seeing so many shelves of alcohol in the grocery stores. There are no isles of whole grain products – mostly refined white flour. And no specialty isles where you can pick up frozen or fresh ethnic entrees and take them home. 
...green label on coke to the left...

At the check-out we saw Green Coke Labels – now that was confusing. "What is going on with the labelling," we were asking one another. Someone with limited English, (which feels like a lot of English to us, since we haven't been hearing much lately)  overheard our conversation and popped into the discussion, explaining to us that in the Green Label Coke, the sugar is natural. We don’t know what that means so I goggled it. Regular Coke: 250 calories. Green Coke: 100 calories. Diet Coke: no calories. Apparently one of the Argentinian efforts to combat obesity. 

We were remarking that at this point in our trip, it doesn’t seem to matter than very few people we meet can speak English. I wonder how it is that we are getting along. Maybe the guide books that we brought with us. And commerce can go on in markets whether people can speak the same language or not. The people who stop to talk to us are so kind. No merchants are over-bearing. As we walk along the streets we hearcambio every few steps. I don’t think hearing that word from 10 people per block on the tourist walking street would be an exaggeration, men and women, maybe 8 out of 10 men. But some women along the side doing money changing.

Some salespeople are out on the streets selling tickets to dinner and dance shows – usually  a Tango Show. I saw a woman approach Wyona, who didn’t slow down for one step to hear her pitch. The girl walked along, sideways, trying to keep up with her, trying to get eye contact, get some word out of Wyona.

 “Oh, you don’t speak,” were the girl’s final words as she dropped behind to find another tourist.

I was not that tourist. 


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