We went to do our weekly shopping at the Carrefour down the street today, our usual Sunday outing. During the week, I shop at Mambo, but I’d rather not carry all of the staples five blocks each time I need to do major shopping, for things like drinks, canned goods, and such.

So, Tom and I drove to the Carrefour in the cute little jet-around he’s driving this week while the loaner van is in Rio at a trade show. Tom is so proud of his new wheels…shows them off proudly whenever he drives!

Carrefour is a bit like a Target cum Vons, with household items and groceries. But that’s only the start of the treasures it houses.

Once you’ve parked in the underground parking, you take a moving sidewalk up to the store.

(apologies for the blurred photos…I was taking them on the sly. Didn’t want to advertise that I have an iPhone, in case someone was watching…didn’t want to get jumped in the parking lot later….)

At the top, you can walk directly into the main store, or turn left and visit the adjacent drug store, or walk a bit farther and visit a beauty store, travel store, optometrist, and cobbler. Within the main store, you can apply for credit, pay bills, and do any number of business and banking transactions. It’s your one-stop shopping!

The left side of the store has stereo and TV systems, and clothing, and household items, like a Target store. All of that takes up about a third of the shopping floor. The rest is groceries, a deli, a small cafeteria, a meat counter, a fish counter, and a nursery for plants and flowers.

It’s a large store, so the staff needs a little help getting around:

What’s a little different about this is the food and drinks we find. Of course, you have the usual: Coke and Pepsi products, Brahma beer, and mineral water. But we like the juice brand:

It’s also a lot of fun trying to convince ourselves to try new foods: such as pasta with fungus:

Or Oxblood wine:

With my iPhone in hand, and its handy Google Translator app, I was able to find baking powder, but couldn’t find any bread crumbs. I did manage to find everything else we need, including lunch to take home (kids, this is why it’s not a good idea to shop when you’re hungry!:

If you get tired while shopping, you can take a break at the cafeteria and watch TV.

And if your precious little angel happens to fill her drawers while you’ve still got shopping to do, no worries, there’s a room just for the two of you! Why didn’t they have these when my kids were small?

And if your toddler doesn’t feel like driving around a race car shopping cart with you, you can always leave him in the kids’ corner, where they are locked away contentedly playing while you stroll the aisles.

Once you find all your goodies, you get in line to pay. You’d better have brought your recyclable shopping bags, though, because stores here don’t provide bags, plastic or paper. If you forgot your bags, or didn’t bring enough for all your goodies, you have to buy another one for R1.50 ($.75). We have quite a collection by now!

At last, we were finished, and true to my word, we bought some new foodstuffs (and drinks; yes, that’s rum, and coconut cocktail, and an Argentine wine) to try this week.

Next week, I hunt for dragonfruit and try coconut juice! (I admit, it’ll be a while before I try any of the beef tongue or the dried and salted codfish.)