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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Otra Fiesta

It turns out that Friday was some sort of holiday, too. I screwed my back up a bit so I was just planning on kicking back at home most of the day anyway. I needed a few things for something that I was cooking, however, so I was a bit disappointed when I saw that the big Mercadona grocery store across the street was closed. They are like Denny’s except replace “Always Open” with “We’re Closed Whenever We Feel Like It.”

Just like the holiday on Wednesday, the only things open were those businesses run by the immigrants. I mentioned the little variety stores run by the Chinese. There seems to be at least one on every block. There are at least five of them within one block of where I live. It is absolutely amazing to me how much stuff they pack into these little stores. Since I just arrived and I need everything, the Chinese 1 euro stores have been a godsend.

They aren’t really 1 euro stores, but some of them advertise themselves this way. They seem to be the Spanish answer to Wal-Mart. They have toys, clothes, school supplies, kitchen stuff, cleaning products, hardware, pet supplies, and way too many other things to list. The only difference is that in these stores you don’t see morbidly obese women in stretch stirrup pants. It’s a good thing, too, because as narrow as the aisles are, they would seriously jeopardize the inventory. I will list some of the stuff I have picked up at the 1 euro stores with the prices.

Coffee Maker -10.5€ (shitty, it leaks)
Speakers for my laptop 15.€ (pretty kick ass for the money)
Juicer -1.5€
Big coffee cup -.70€
Serrated knife -1.50€
Various sizes of Tupperware knock-offs
Bathroom scrub brush -2.€
Coat hangers -2.0€
Q-tips -.70€
Vegetable rack -7.0€
Shipping container full of immigrants ready to work –Priceless

Ok, I’m just kidding about that last item but wouldn’t that be a time-saver?

Will I ever get tired of the 1 euro stores? As amazing and convenient as they are, there is a downside, a seamy underbelly. Like the really fucking annoying Christmas decorations that play tunes. Yesterday as I was shopping I was subjected to a constant barrage of a one foot (.32 meter, the metric system is a little too prosaic fo print) Santa Claus belting out these notes: do do do, do do do, do dee do do do, do do do, do dee do do, do dee do do do dee do.* I looked all over the store for the baseball bats so I could take Santa out, but the game hasn’t really caught on over here and it’s hard to silence an obnoxious Santa with a soccer ball.

The euro stores usually have security cameras and there is always an ancient Chinese woman about four feet tall who stands vigil and follows you with an imperious stare that practically screams out, “Don’t even think about shoplifting, fucko.” Like I would risk getting banned from this paradise by shoving a hairdryer down my pants? I’m in this for the long haul, little old, mean-looking Chinese lady.

Usually I try to write a minimum amount of words for the day’s essay, and a lot of this was made up of prices and notes to a Christmas song, but I’m heading out to go shopping. The stores are open today and the 1 euro stores don’t sell wine.

*Jingle Bells

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