Not every day is a play day. While we’re fortunate enough to be tied to a dock this week, we are taking advantage of not having to load everything in the dinghy to go to shore. Today on our list is grocery shopping and laundry. We both really miss the days of driving to Costco and loading up with huge amounts of red meat and giant-size containers of everything. And, we really really really miss our full size washer and dryer in the laundry room of our old house. Our trip to the grocery store begins with getting out our Cleaver Crates and hand trolley.
Then, we begin our one mile trek to the supermarket. We are very lucky to have a real supermarket nearby. On some of the smaller islands we have visited, the grocery store is about the size of a small convenience store. I must admit, I do like shopping at the smaller stores where the owners are behind the cash register and often we get a wonderful history lesson if we start a conversation. Maxwell’s is an exception. The following two pictures are more typical of stores in our area.
While shopping, we are of cognizant of weight. Weight was never a problem when we shopped at Costco. We had a big SUV and never found anything we couldn’t haul home. Now whatever we buy we have to haul back to Cream Puff on the hand trolley. Things like bleach or a bag of potatoes seriously adds to the limits of the hand trolley. Yes we could take a cab, but the walk is healthy and I’m a tightwad.
We get excited at the store when we find things like milk is in stock today. Or, if they have fresh bread. Since everything comes on a freighter to the islands, there are often times when the pickings are slim. Last week I watched a lady get upset because the store didn’t have tomatoes. We don’t get upset about what they do not have. However, we do get excited about what the do have. Today we were able to buy bananas. I haven’t seen bananas in stock for 2 weeks. I could have just been at the store on the wrongs days. We are not familiar with the local brands. So, our purchase decisions at the shelf are made by the pretty pictures on the labels or by whichever item looks like it has sold the most. If the item is almost out, we figure it has to be tasty.
Grocery items here are about 30% – 100% more expensive than in the USA. A single roll of paper towels is $2.50, compared to $0.60 at Costco. Bringing merchandise in by freighter adds to the transport costs of the goodies. Brands at the store are Mexican (we think the labels are in Spanish), European and American. The Hispanic brands seem to be the lowest price followed by the European and then the American brands. Back at the boat, we are $200 poorer and start to stow the goodies away.
Next, we are off to the laundry. We have a washer and spin dryer aboard Cream Puff for small loads. But, we want to wash sheets, towels and blankets etc. Our little washer (and almost dryer) would freak out if we tried to do this aboard Cream Puff. Most marinas have washers and dryers for transient boaters. The place where we are staying only offers a laundry service. Not wanting our clothes to shrink, we prefer the DYI method. We contacted a neighboring marina and asked if we could use their laundry facility. “No problem” they said. They were not very busy. This saved us from having to cart the load to the coin laundry about a mile away. We spent $80 in laundry tokens. I think it is a conspiracy the dryers leave the clothes ever so slightly damp with one token forcing us to purchase another $5 token. Yes, each cycle is about $5 for the washer and another $5 for the dryer. But hey, look at the view! This is our life in the Bahamas.