Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Xian Shopping Trip, AKA, how much Western food can you buy in China for $100?

By Ruth

Yesterday we took a team shopping trip to Xi'an, the big city about an hour west of here. The bus there only takes about an hour, but then it takes another hour to get across town because there is so much traffic. It was raining and cool, a perfect day for Starbucks. Fortunately, Xian has several. The main focus of our trip was a wonderful store called Metro. It is a wholesale store, kind of a mix between Costco and a supermarket. It has two long aisles of imported foods plus other surprising treasures.

My first hope was to find a crockpot, which I did. It is a beautiful crockpot at that, decorated with scenes of Chinese life. At least half of the things I know how to make are in a crockpot, so this will be quite helpful. We will also have mostly afternoon and evening classes, so it will be helpful to have something already made.

Metro has even more good foods than I expected. We found cereal (we got 4 boxes), hot chocolate, bacon, popcorn, frozen bagels, refried beans, and salsa. We also got a huge 12lb block of cheddar cheese to split amongst the team. We spent a lot of money. Probably as much money as I’ve ever spent at a supermarket in America, but it seems like a ton more when in China. Kevin scoped out some grill options to check out on a future trip. I even saw a plastic swing set, which was a little strange, because who has a yard to put a swing set in? The only people who seem to have outside space are country people, who wouldn’t be buying a swing set.

Anyway, it was a wonderful store. I am glad to not live in Xian because it is so busy and crowded, but I am happy to live conveniently nearby.