Learning Curve

Things I learned this week:

La Concepcion is not the place to go for grocery shopping. It takes two buses each way at a cost of $1.60. A bit cheaper than Potrerillos to David round trip which was $1.80. A shopping trip from Boquerón to David also requires two buses each way and costs the same as going to La Concepcion.

El Rey is the best grocery store for all around shopping. There are four groceries in the area: El Rey, Super Baru, Romero (affiliated with El Rey) and Super 99 (owned by Panama’s President, Ricardo Martinelli). El Rey is the only place that has Jell-O Chocolate Pudding Mix. Romero, on the other hand, is the only place stocking Grandma’s Molasses (an essential ingredient for a couple of bread recipes I bake) and Baru (named after Panama’s highest peak, an extinct volcano) is the only one that has Kikkoman soy sauce. I don’t like Super 99. It has nothing to do with politics. To me it’s a bit like the Winn-Dixie near where I lived in Fort Lauderdale. Every time I shopped there I felt like I needed to take a bath when I got home.
Just because you come up with something that seems like a good idea doesn’t mean you should try it out. But that’s part of what makes it a learning curve, isn’t it?

About three quarters of the way to the bus terminal in David there is a large Romero. From the outside it seems to be about as big as the Rey I was headed for. Shopping there would mean not having to take two extra buses, not that the 60 cents they’d cost makes any difference. Well, this store was better than the other two Romeros I’ve been in but still not on a par with Rey.

The problem came trying to catch the bus back home. There are only two an hour. I barely missed the first one so I had to cool my heels for half an hour. No big deal except the next one that came along was full to the brim as was the one a half hour after that. After 90 minutes I was able to get one of the last three seats on the Boquerón bus.

So it’s back to Plan A which is to do the four bus shuffle. At least if I start my return trip from the terminal it’s a lock on getting a seat. And it’s not a problem if I have to wait a while. Most of the little kioskos sell 30 cent scoops of a decent chocolate ice cream and I can enjoy it while watching the passing parade of Panama: school children in their uniforms, Indian women in their native garb and just the ordinary people of the country. I love the terminal. Anyone coming to visit me, even if they rent a car, will have to spend an hour or so there.

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2 Comments

Filed under Boqueron Panama, Culture Shock, Expatriate Living, Living Abroad, Retire in Panama, Retirement Abroad

2 responses to “Learning Curve

  1. Super 99 and Winn-Dixie sound like our HEB Pantry Stores. HEB started in Texas and has some large stores – the one in Kerrville is wonderful. But the little Pantry stores are… Well. Let’s just say the Lebanese market in Gbarnga, Liberia – the one that stocked the GOOD Russian toilet paper – was a more satisfying shopping experience.

    I’ve got some Grandma’s molasses in my pantry, but I use it for a spice cookie rather than bread. How’s the flour and yeast situation where you are. Weren’t you having some trouble finding exactly what you wanted?

    Now that I know you can get your hands on ice cream, I’m good with Panama. I could live without ice cream if I had to, but I’d sooner give up … well, lots of things.

    Oh – and how is the USB modem doing for you. Are we getting this update courtesy of that, or are you in an internet cafe?

    This is sent on the USB modem which I’m really not thrilled with. Sometimes I think two Campbell’s soup cans and a long piece of string would do as well. Unfortunately it’s the only solution for the time being. There’s something called an “Infoplaza” at the town hall about a kilometer away which is supposed to have an internet connection. I don’t know if it’s a wifi spot or not but I’m going to go check it out tomorrow.

  2. Apparently someone on the interwebs is stealing question marks. Insert them where necessary. ;-)

    I went back and rechecked the post and whoever’s stealing them is doing it on your end.