Today we went shopping in Charapoto again.We missed last week, but we were out of town last week, so we were OK. We went with a different driver this time. Mary called us at 6:30, so we got up and got ready and fixed breakfast. We just finished breakfast when Mary called again and said she was at the gate. We scrambled to take the dishes off the table and run around and close and lock all the windows, set the alarm, grab our bag and run out the door. Luckily the van waited for us. It is a pretty drive through the agricultural area to get to the shopping area.
We arrived at 7:30 and it was crowded. We knew it would be, but we wanted to see what it was like at that time and we would have a greater chance of getting better produce and meat. We wandered around behind Mary. First we went to get meat. There were numerous meat stands in a line. Mostly I saw pork. Every stand had a pig head somewhere on it or many pig heads.
I was impressed by the butcher we stopped at, because we asked for 2 kg and he sliced off a piece and it was just a shade over 2. Good eyeballing it! Mary had bought pork bones for soup and a slab of meat, so we just copied her. We love soup, so I asked her to tell me how to make it. She was rattling off ingredients, but I said let’s wait until I can write it down. I love knowing how the Ecuadorians make it. We continued on until Mary stopped at one of the vegetable stands where we bought several items. She made sure I got all the ingredients for the soup. We bought 2 bags of beans. They are white, large, and flat. They look like lima beans, but do not taste like them, thank heavens, because I hate lima beans.You can see what I bought along with the prices we paid in the video. We took note of what we paid, I took pictures of the items and labeled them in the video below. We bought fish because we used the fish we bought last time for soup which was delicious. I did save two small pieces to cook separately. The fish was so delicious that we bought a filet of fish. I divided it up into 4 portions. The fish was $7.00, but pretty cheap when you consider I will get 4 meals from it. We also bought eggs, 2 pots of geraniums, cheese empanadas. We paid 1.00 for 7 of the empanadas verde. Those were the labor intensive empanadas I learned to make, but will not make because they are too darn hard to make. Before we left, Leo purchased minutes on the cell phone. When we got into the van, I took out my pen and paper and jotted down the ingredients for the pork soup. When I got home, I made the soup and it gave us soup for Sunday and Monday and I froze enough for a meal next week. The soup was out of this world. We served it with rice and homemade aji (hot pepper sauce). Yum! I have the recipe in the recipe section of the blog. I call it Pork Soup by Mary.
Mary bought a lot of groceries, too. I asked her about how much she spent each week and she said $50.00. I asked her if she filled in with more groceries later in the week and she said no. There are 3 people who live in her house to feed, but she said that her brothers and sister and families drop by for dinner, too, from time to time. She is doing well with that price.
We bought $32.00 worth with $2.00 for the cab and $4.00 for plants, making a total of $38.00. I will have to see what we fill in with this week. We are still using the monthly shopping I made a few weeks ago. Most of that was milk for the month, cereal, staples like flour, salt, pepper, sugar, soda, beer, tuna in a can, a few cake and brownie mixes, mayo, mustard, catsup, crackers, cheese, Doritos, cleaning products etc. I spent about $140. that time and we did shop a little in Manta and we spent $105. In round figures I estimate we will spend about $ 87. a week this month. Not really too bad, but I will be trying to shave off some if I can. We’ll see.
Below is our shopping day with captions to tell what we spent. It may help you get an idea of what one expat spends anyway: