We needed some supplies for the house, so Melaney thought we should go to Price Smart. This is a very large super store in Alajuela. It is an American chain and just opened in 2009. We did shop at the store about three weeks ago, but Rita was with us and could direct us to the location. Melaney decided to try it on our own.
I am not in favour of the principle of these chain stores; like Costco in Canada. They charge a $30 per year membership. I have never liked the idea of paying a membership to shop at a store. I think they should feel privileged that I should shop in their store. I suppose you have to pay the premium to use a store with the large selection that they provide. We bought the membership.
This store is as large as any in Canada, and has a huge selection of goods, much of which is imported from the U.S. There is where the high pricing comes in, because the extra costs in shipping and handling are incorporated in the shelf price. However, until we can become true Ticas, we will have to pay the piper.
Now the adventure was getting to the store. We knew about where it was located, but in true Costa Rica style, there are many roads that lead to the same place, and if you overshoot one turn, (and the roads are very twisty and turny) you can find yourself going around in circles if you are lucky, and just going off into the far beyond, if you are not so lucky.
We left Gigi to herself, which she put up the usual objections, and headed out. The store doesn’t open until 10 am so we left at 9:30. It is about half an hour’s drive into the city. We didn’t do too badly on the drive, and soon we were in the outskirts of Alajuela. Then the fun began. There are so many roads that look alike. There are many one way streets. Even at 9:45 in the morning, the streets are busy with all kinds of vehicular traffic and pedestrians. We were being fed into the centre of the city, and we knew the store was close to the outskirts. I don’t know how Melaney does it; she must have some kind of homing device built in because by turning a few corners and backtracking a couple of times, she came right out on the street by the store. I am surprised that a store that big doesn’t put up some advertising signs directing traffic to their location, but they don’t. Also, you must understand that street signs are non-existent. One has to remember that the correct corner to come home has a Chicken restaurant on one corner (it is actually a Pizza Hut--Mel), and a cemetery on the other side of the street. The one location that is well advertised on the road is the direction to Mount Poas Park which is the direction that we need to get home. There is only one small item to remember. At one junction, you don’t go to the park, but take the other turn which leads into Poas town.
Once we arrive in Poas, we are home free. We know that town very well now, and have no more problems.
Each time we pass the park in the centre of Poas, we remark about how many people are in the park at any given time of day or day of the week. It’s a busy gathering place, a cool oasis of shade in the middle of town.