Craig and I gave each other a puzzled look because when we'd walked by that morning, a solitary man was jack hammering concrete in the empty parking lot. On the way into town in the taxi, the driver brought up Chedraui and told us the big opening was the next day. Lots of free stuff! Everywhere we went, people were clamoring about the big day and the date was always different!
Personally, Craig and I would go out of our way to avoid the crowd that might result from rumors of free stuff on a little island in Mexico, so we waited a day or two after the actual opening to check it out. So here's my Chedraui report.
Chedraui sits across the street from Isla's field of dreams.
The actual store is on the second floor, with a parking garage underneath. The shopping area itself is big for the island, but probably not even half the space of a Walmart Superstore here in the U.S.
I totally understand the excitement surrounding the opening of the store because it just makes life on the island so much more convenient. For example, on almost every trip, I either lose or forget an essential item and spend a lot of time walking from one store to the next trying to find a place that sells it. For example, on our June trip, various makeup items disappeared from my hotel room. On this last trip, I forgot tweezers and ran out of my acid reflux medicine. In the past, I've searched the island for days trying to replace those type of necessities. Once Chedraui opened, the selection was right there, and the prices were reasonable.
Groceries, pharmacy, liquor, a huge bakery, sporting goods, toys, motorcycles, beach towels, underwear, clothes, appliances, electronics -- it's all there in a one-stop trip. And the prices are affordable. Many of the items that used to require a trip to Walmart or Chedraui in Cancun are now available on Isla, so that saves a day at the beach and the 140 pesos per person roundtrip ferry ride.
I snapped some photos in the produce department of items that were hard for me to identify. I think the above photo is dried passion flowers.
And some of these are a mystery to me, so help me out!
Moving into the sporting goods area, I noticed some puzzling items I haven't seen in the U.S.
I couldn't decide if these miracle support garments force you to sweat the fat off, or if they're designed to be worn under clothes to squeeze the excess in. Of course, where the squeezing ends, the bulge erupts, so I'm not sure it'd be a wondrous solution to hide middle age spread. And the garish red would surely show through a light-colored top.
The same question applies to the bottoms. I'm not saying I couldn't benefit from something like this if it actually worked, but that neoprene stuff looks itchy! Not to mention I've worn neoprene knee braces before, and I can't say it resulted in thinner knees.
This is the area of the store that surprised me the most. Olive bars were the rage when we lived in Bellevue, Washington. They came and went at many of the local grocery stores when the owners discovered people just didn't buy that many olives. Then in the past few years in Phoenix, we've seen them installed in the chain stores near us. And now -- on Isla -- the olive bar! I'm curious to see if the olive bar will bring in enough pesos to justify the floor space. The store also has a good selection of cheeses. It was impressive!
And finally, here are the Coleman foldup beach chairs which Chedraui supposedly does not carry and never even stocked. So I guess you'll only see it here on this blog. The mythical beach chairs. I'm glad I found this photo because naysayers almost had me convinced I was crazy! : )
We still used the nearby tiendas for quick snack runs and the items we always buy there, but it's nice to know on future trips that we won't have to spend a lot of time searching for items we've forgotten to pack. And, if we're staying farther out on the island, we won't have to go all the way into El Centro to use an ATM! It's a good thing!