Thursday, January 19, 2006


Back to Quito - getting ready for Christmas

Two days before Christmas we went shopping. It was raining off and on and everyone else in Quito was out shopping as well, so getting a taxi was hard. Emily had ordered a cooked turkey and I had brought some ingredients for Christmas dinner, but we needed to get other groceries and we had some last minute Christmas shopping to do.

The first time we visited Ecuador in 1999 there were no real malls. Also new since that first trip is a big grocery super store in Quito called Mega Maxi. It is part of a chain of grocery stores in Ecuador called Super Maxi, (don't these names sound like feminine hygiene products?) which have been around for awhile, but Mega is a step up, with clothing, housewares, appliances and liquor, as well as groceries.
It is a modern, American style super store, but with much more interesting produce and food items. I admit to a great fascination with browsing the aisles of Mega Maxi and finding treasure like amazing tropical fruits, guava candy, a block of cane sugar and a vast variety of bottled aji, the ubiquitous Ecuadorean hot sauce, made from tree tomatos.

Mega Maxi had a huge Christmas tree in the main floor lobby. Oddly enough the white and blue disks that decorate the tree say 'Oreo" (the cookie) on them.

The mall, Quicentro, is like an American mall in almost every way, including many American brand name stores and restaurants. It also includes some Ecuadorean stores, which, for me, were much more interesting than the Gap or Liz Claiborne. The prices are pretty comparable to American prices as well, which are very high by Ecuadorean standards. You can see in the picture that this mall was nowhere near as crowded two days before Christmas as an American mall would be.

Emily was never much of a mall person here in the States, but she says she finds the mall in Quito is just so convenient that she shops there a lot. Their apartment is not far from either Quicentro or Mega Maxi, another factor. Getting around Quito in taxis and public transportation is tiring and time-consuming.

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