Maintaining Normalcy: Grocery shopping and then some

Do you ever think about where you’re going to buy your next bag of tomatoes, or deodorant, or frozen pizza? Probably not. You just hop in your car and head to the nearest big chain grocery store. There tends to be some semblance of sense at the big stores. All the produce together, then perhaps an aisle of toiletries, then the dairy products, and what a variety! That store may be part of a strip mall where there are a few other stores where you can find everything you’d need for the week without leaving the parking lot. Well, let me tell you a little about shopping in Guatemala…

First thing first, yes, there are large, international chain stores here like Walmart. A number of grocery chains can be found throughout the country, there are huge, modern shopping malls, and pharmacies on every corner. If you want it, you can likely find it somewhere. But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about the market.

The market. This is not your typical grocery store. In fact, its not a store at all. It is huge, overwhelming, confusing, colorful, crowded and full of new smells and sights and sounds. It is a labyrinth of stalls and vendors and products that almost seems impossible to find your way out of. In some towns it may be held once or twice a week, in others, its a permanent fixture. But one thing is cer