To help outfit the furnished apartment I’m moving into tomorrow, Isabel (my facilitator, firstname.lastname@example.org) took me shopping at Coral yesterday. I had no idea what I was getting into.
Coral is Walmart on steroids!
Here’s a video to give you an idea of what it is like.
For three hours we power shopped. From section to section and floor to floor, we stuffed shopping carts with things like bedding, towels, tools, lamp, clock, scissors, stapler, shampoo, potatoes, peanut butter.
Of course, everything was in Spanish and had Ecuadorian style. It took some doing to find a mattress pad that wasn’t brightly patterned.
As we entered the checkout lane, my heart began to pound and my eyes went wide. I had two overflowing carts and a comforter bedding set besides. The volume was shocking and I suddenly remembered I had daily spending limits on my credit cards.
My brain went into hyper-drive trying to remember those limits. Were they $300 a day? $500? $1500? And which had a higher limit, the credit card or the debit card? Nothing sounded right.
Then the rabbit hole deepened:
What if a card was rejected because I’d gone over the limit, would I be unable to use it at all for the purchase?
Would Coral allow me to make payment with two separate cards? Would they let me pay cash for some, and credit for the rest?
As the checkout lady scanned item after item after item, and the bag attendants filled carryout cart after carryout cart after carryout cart, I deliberately left the few grocery items remaining in my cart in the cart, and pushed it backwards and sideways out of the line, back into the shopping area.
Like that would make a difference.
Surely Isabel wondered why I rejected the grapes…
Sighing deeply, I resigned myself to this becoming a big, long, red-faced ordeal, complete with calls to Wells Fargo and putting things back on the shelf.
While holding my breath, the cashier tallied and the screen read $392.54. I couldn’t believe it was less than $700.
I felt the sun rising and a smile spreading.
When the credit card cleared and the transaction went through, the air became light, and my feet left the ground.
Floating to the car, I took this pic for you of Isabel instructing the attendants how to load her backseat and trunk.
Everything after that was easy. We went to the apartment building, climbed those three flights and unloaded the items inside the apartment, cold things into the fridge.
Before heading to my hotel room, I treated myself to a classic American duo, a Coke and fries, for dinner at Charlie’s (the local mom & pop fast food place, where I also took the receipt photo).
Even though it was only 3pm, the day was done. My head hurt and my eyes kept closing. Back at the hotel room, I sprawled on the bed and listened to NPR and Eric Metaxas podcasts (oil and water mix better) while slipping in and out of consciousness until 7:30 this morning.
Tomorrow is moving day! :D
PS There is no chance of contracting Zika in Cuenca, as the altitude doesn’t sustain mosquito life.