The Horn of Plenty
Updated: Jul 6, 2018
A few days ago I met Pam. She's a single lady, mid 50's, who has lived here at lakeside for a couple of years. We didn't have time to chat but we exchanged contact info. Well, this morning I received a message from her saying she was going to do her weekly shopping at the market stores in Chapala and asked if I wanted to join her. I jumped at the chance!
My trip to Tonala for house stuff was postponed so the timing was perfect. Pam picked me up at the corner in front of the restaurant. We went into Chapala where the square is located, but behind it on a side street, and parked in front of the veggie stores.
The first stop was a building that was like a huge warehouse but full of vendors. Several little places to eat, a beef and lamb butcher, and a couple of pork butchers as well as 3-4 veggie vendors filled the ground floor.
We went to the beef butcher's counter. I watched and listened as she read him items off of her list and he chopped, sliced and ground the meats to her specifications. Then I ordered; 2 kilos of ground sirloin and a kilo of sirloin steak. That wasn't so hard. The butcher did speak some English which helped a lot.
Then we went upstairs where the fish mongers are located. She showed me to pass the vendors in front, many of which have caught their fish in Lake Chapala. We proceeded to the last vendor who had fish and shrimp from the Pacific. The Mahi looked good but I opted out for today and just got a kilo of fresh jumbo shrimp.
We deposited those items in the trunk of her car in our cold pack bags and headed to the veggie tiendas. I'm only feeding myself so I had to be picky and choosy and tone down the amounts I was used to buying in Florida. Fresh green beans, cauliflower, 2 kinds of lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, a sweet pepper, potatoes, carrots, an onion, a cantaloupe, and some nectarines, I think that was all but I'm not sure.
Then to the Cremaria on the corner where I got some wonderful swiss cheese, sliced, from their extensive cheese selections. They also had fresh eggs, fresh milk, and fresh heavy cream along with myriad other wonderful items.
Final place for fresh chicken was a short drive from Chapala into Ajijic. This was the butcher shop for pollo and they were ready to cut and package the birds to your instruction. I got a whole chicken cut up with bones and skin intact, but I had the extras The back and innards) packaged separately for making chicken stock later. These chickens are big and meaty and locally grown. One chicken will last me about 6 meals, not counting the chicken soup I'll make. Pam had them debone and skin some of her choices. They will accommodate whatever you want and you can place special orders for other fowl.
When I came home, I packaged everything into single sized portions for just me and came out with 26 lunches and dinners, and I spent a total of $55 USD. I'll still need bread, milk, and eggs but I can definitely live with this food budget!
A couple of hours ago I got another message from Rita, a new friend I met at the Newbies lunch. She invited me to meet her in Chapala (4 miles away) at El Patio for open mic night. They close at 7:30pm so the nightlife is actually early evening life but I won't drive after dark so it's perfect. I will push myself to go because meeting more people is a good thing and a few laughs and sing alongs can't hurt.
Have I told you that I love it here. Of course I have. And I still do.
*** Update - the evening at El Patio was fun! We left at 7:45 and walked to my fav gelato place, eating it on a bench while watching the malecon activity on a balmy evening. It's hard to believe how tropical it is here at 5000+ feet altitude.