Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shopping at Carrefour

As I mentioned in a previous post the Carrefour is pretty much the same as a Super Wal-Mart. The main floor contains all of the non-food items like clothes, sporting equiment, appliances, etc. The floor below is the supermarket. Shopping for groceries has been interesting. As expected I knew I wouldn't find a lot of the normal foods I have become accustomed to finding at my local H.E.B, but it is even more of a challenge here because everything is written in Chinese. If you find something you might like to try you just have to try it. I try to find the smallest bottle or bag to sample it. So far I've had pretty good luck.
The most challenging part of shopping here in China has been trying to ask someone where to find things. I didn't bring my alarm clock because I knew China used 220V for power and I could just buy one here. Well walking around Carrefour for almost 20minutes I still couldn't find the alarm clocks. At least not the kind I was expecting to find. I finally decided to try and ask someone and through the use of some carefully crafted sign language and me making an audible sound of an alarm the woman finally understood what I was looking for. After I was shown where to find the clocks, it was a location I had passed by a couple of times. It wasn't because I didn't notice it but it was because all of the clocks were either analog (with hands) or it ran on batteries. Hmm. I didn't bring mine because of the power difference and now I'm faced with buying one that doesn't even plug in. Oh well. I picked one that had a thermometer built in and speaks to you when you hit the snooze button. I still don't know what it's saying, but hopefully I will soon learn.
Another thing you have to consider when shopping is the amount of stuff you can carry. Since I don't have a car here most of my travels are either by taxi or just walking. Even with the taxi you still have to be able to carry your stuff in one trip. This really limits the amount of stuff one can carry. Maybe this is a good thing. So far I have only purchased things I really think I need.

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