Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Puerto Rican Shopping

This post doesn't have anything to do with the mission. The office elders and Elder Eakle have gone to the DMV, and I really don't have anything else to do. Plus, it's lunch time, but I need to stay here in case a package comes. 

I have been quite perplexed about stores and shopping here. Most of the businesses are just small storefronts that line the streets and have some parking in front of them or people just park on the sidewalks. All different kinds of business are on streets from barbershops to funeral homes to ferreterias (hardware stores). There are also a lot of bars mixed in there. They all have iron grates in the front, and I have a hard time telling if they are open or not.  To be honest, I haven't attempted to go in a small, local business like this. 

A typical business street around where we live. Residential and business areas are pretty much just mixed together. 

In recent years (I think), a lot of big box, chain stores like Walmart and Home Depot have come to Puerto Rico. They are SOOOO crowded! I'm not sure if it's because there are fewer of these stores per person here or if people just like to shop more. 

All of the shopping centers have a security person who sits up in a tower to keep an eye on the parking lot. 

We have been eating out a lot. I'm not quite sure why. We haven't had any Puerto Rican food yet. We've mostly had fast food. There are so many fast food restaurants everywhere. But there isn't an In N Out Burger or Chick Fil A. There might be a business opportunity there. 

There are many, many Chinese restaurants, but I haven't seen any Asian people. One of the sisters here said that someone in her ward hunts Iguana (Chicken of the Tree) and sells them to Chinese restaurants. I'm not sure if I'll be going to any local Chinese restaurants. 

A typical Chinese restaurant. There seems to be one on every street. 
A lot of US chain restaurants like Olive Garden, Sizzler, Chilis, Applebees's, Macaroni Grill and others are operating here. I think they have just shown up in recent years. These two just opened after we got here. 

A Famous Daves and Olive Garden just opened up a few miles away from us. This was taken before business hours, but they are always packed. 

Every street has a Panaderia. I think they are really popular because many of the apartments and houses don't have ovens. If they do, it's really too hot to bake anything here. 

The panaderia on the street where we live.

There are also BBQ places on every street. We haven't been there yet. I wonder if they serve "chicken of the tree" like the Chinese restaurants. 
This restaurant is across the street from our apartment complex. 
 Last night we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at Plaza Las Americas. It has a Sears, JC Penney, and a Macy's. There was also a PF Chang's there. I didn't go in the mall, but it looked pretty fancy compared to anything else here. I read on the internet that it is the most profitable mall per square foot in the world. Also, a Walmart, Sears, and JCP here are the highest grossing stores for those businesses. 

I tried to show the crowded parking lot. It took us about 20 minutes to find a parking place. Every day is like Black Friday or some other crazy shopping day.

Another option for eating is a sidewalk vendor. Everyday all over the place people set up grills and sell something on the streets. I think a lot of them are selling empenadas. We haven't tried that yet either. They usual set up a tarp on poles and put a few lawn chairs under it and people hang out there and eat. 

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