Without realizing it, we had developed a “Vieques arrival” ritual.
This consisted of:
- taking a taxi to the car rental place (we’d decided it was a waste of Jane’s time for her to pick us up at the airport);
- getting our rental car and driving to the house;
- doing a quick walk-through, including taking an inventory of provisions and booze; and
- heading to Superdescuentos Morales (the island’s biggest supermarket) to stock up on groceries and supplies.
Okay, time out for a word about Superdescuentos Morales.
First of all, there’s nothing particularly super about it, and it’s usually unbearably crowded, and the check-out people are often a tad surly. Also, it frequently doesn’t have what we’re looking for.
But after about a year we started to like it.
For one thing, it reminded us of grocery stores from our childhoods. You know, narrow aisles, limited provisions, low expectations.
As middle-aged adults living in a large American city, we had grown used to vast, chilly supermarkets stocking fifty-seven brands of cereal and three dozen flavors of yogurt.
In contrast, there was something strangely comforting about having your cereal choices winnowed down from fifty-seven to three—Corn Flakes, Cocoa Puffs or Rice Crispies. You’re in or you’re out, case closed.
The first few months this had provoked minor irritation but now it felt strangely liberating: thank you for not making us think so hard about our fiber intake.
There were other things we liked. The liquor aisle was surprisingly well-provisioned
No, there was no Dutch triple-distilled gin but there was Tanquerey and Beefeaters, not to mention Absolut vodka and Jose Cuervo tequila. Also, a middling to good selection of wine, particularly red. What more do you want?
In addition, there was the oddly compelling kitchen/hardware section, which changed imperceptibly from visit to visit. Sometimes it boasted a large and varied inventory of bathroom related items—shower curtains, toilet brushes, plumber’s friends in several different colors and shapes—while other times the focus seemed to be on garden items.
Sometimes you simply didn’t know what you’d get. I remember once seeing rat traps…
…next to lingerie sachets.
[For more on the zaniness of Superdescuentos Morales, go to: http://bobofeed.blogspot.com/2011/04/morales.html – Bruce and John have captured the place to a “t”]
I’ll have more on the subject tomorrow. Stay tuned!