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Carl's Notebook # 7

Shopping in Guadalajara

December 1, 1999

Let’s talk about prices. Lorena and I finally gave in and went shopping in Guadalajara. I say “gave in” because we enjoy the laid-back, Chapala “lakeside” so much that we’ve postponed errands in the city. Also, there is very little that we need here, that can’t be found here. Even such elemental, “can’t live without” essentials as extra virgin olive oil, tofu, popcorn, and an occasional bag of greasy potato chips are available just a few blocks from us.

As Lorena pointed out, however, our life of ease and relative luxury still wasn’t complete. Even though this Mexican house has such “mod cons” as electricity and running water, we still didn’t have a carrot juice machine. (You may recall that our cabin in Washington state has an outhouse, artesian spring, and no electricity.) As Lorena explained to me, repeatedly and at length, life without a carrot machine is like... Well, I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Next stop: Guadalajara’s vast supermarket, MEGA Comercial Mexicana, where we picked up a curvaceous Moulinex carrot juicer for just $58. At the rate Lorena drinks this stuff, we should pay for the machine and a large truckload of zanahorias in about 3 months. (I also stumbled across a liter of Italian cold-pressed olive oil for $6.75. With Y2K coming, you can’t have too much olive oil, right?)

Being something of a hick, I was overwhelmed by the size of the Mega store, as well as the excellent quality of their produce. We happened to visit on Wednesday, which is evidently a traditional day of specials. Here are a few prices, calculated by the pound, at a peso/dollar exchange of 9.35, and rounded off a penny or two.

tomatoes .20
Cabbage, white
onions, white .13 Oranges, seedless .26
potatoes, white .40 avocados, Hass .37
lettuce, romaine each .13 pears, D’Anjou .60
grapes, red and fat .69
celery .16
mushrooms, white 1.15 brocolli .32
eggs, dozen .77 watermelon, cut .13
ham, smoked, sliced 1.60 papaya .45
cheese, white panela 1.99 chard, bunch .25

It bears repeating that even at these rock bottom prices, the quality of the fruit and vegetables was excellent.

Other prices: In downtown Guadalajara, I bought fresh roasted coffee beans for $3.20 a pound. Closer to home, very tasty robalo (snook) goes for $2.25 a pound in the local street market. A pound of medium-sized whole prawns is $3.65.

Finally, from the “I told you so” department, Lorena informs me that she now grinds fresh carrot juice for just 22 cents a pint.


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