Thursday, June 16, 2011

Golden Nuggets VIII: Shopping Differences

Living in a foreign country requires learning new customs and adjusting to a new normal. All those interesting tidbits I learn as I live in Haiti are Golden Nuggets. And what kind of person would I be if I didn't share those Golden Nuggets with others?

Shopping in Haiti is both really similar to and very different from shopping in the States. Today I want to explain some of the differences. I already outlined some of the similarities a few posts back. Okay, maybe I should have called that post Shopping Differences That Are Really Not That Strange because mostly I explained some differences that are only slight. Today I'll share with you ways to shop in Haiti that are unfathomable for most Americans.

  • The local marchè, or farmer's markets if you prefer English, is very popular. They sell anything from rice and beans to spices to freshly butchered meat to fruits and vegetables. They also normally have at least one booth dedicated to freshly fried patès (the Haitian version of Hot Pockets). There is a marchè just around the corner from my house, but I've never shopped there for three reasons. 1) I don't like situations where I don't know what to expect and could make a fool of myself. 2) I'm white and would be charged at least double what dark Haitians are charged. Lighter skinned Haitians are typically charged more too, but not as much as white foreigners. 3) Beth takes me to the grocery store, so I haven't been forced to go to the marchè. 
  •  If you are looking for clothes or shoes, there are a lot of options for you. You could go to a clothing store in the city, but you might have to pay $90 for a men's dress shirt. If that's not in your budget, another option is a pay-pay on the street. These are little booths set up along the sidewalk or street that sell clothing, shoes, books, anything really. 

  • Each vendor specializes in something. For instance, one shoe vendor has black shoes. Another has tennis shoes, while another has sandals. These vendors might line up next to one another on the street, or not. You just walk around until you find what you're looking for. Clothing works the same way. One vendor has dresses, another has men's t-shirts, but someone else has men's dress shirts, and so on. Again, I have not been brave enough (or in need of new clothes) to shop at a pay-pay. I hear the prices are pretty good though. One girl I know got her prom dress for $8 Haitian dollars... about $1 US. 

This is actually right at the end of my street. I could buy a shirt or a bedspread. I've been checking out the bedspreads as I walk by. They're certainly used, but in nice condition.

  •  My favorite vendors are the ones with medicines. They make these cone towers out of the pill packets and put the boxes in the middle. It's pretty awesome. Beth says they advertise which symptoms they have meds for by yelling out the symptoms. Headache. Heartburn. Stomach ache. Allergies. You get the picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment