There is a mini supermarket in Olon that I think is in operation strictly for the Gringos. It has about four short rows, and a couple of refrigerator coolers. We are quite thankful for this store and are counted among the Gringo population who frequent its convenience. However, you always pay for the convenience, so it's not a great place to do any serious shopping.
Geoff was served a yummy bowl of shrimp soup in a coconut milk broth, and I had the best chicken and potato soup - ever. We were full enough after that but the main course arrived! I had plenty of rice, lentils and chicken and Geoff enjoyed a really good seafood and peanut dish with rice and noodles. There's no low carb here. Fresh squeezed orange juice was also included...although we have been leary of anything not piping hot after getting so sick a couple weeks ago. We sipped it appreciatively and sadly left the yummy juice alone.
Then we caught a taxi to El Paseo, a shopping mall of sorts, to visit their large hypermarket. It's the Ecuadorian version of Wal-Mart, for better or worse. You can find everything from toilets to food there, and we are quite thankful for it. Our only real issue is that, without a car, we can only purchase as much as we can carry. With the commute, shopping trips kill pretty much an entire day, so we try to get as much as we can carry and nothing that we don't really need/want, in hopes that we don't have to make the trip more than twice a month. This takes some careful meal planning, let me tell you. Dried beans, lentils, rice, and quinoa pack easily, and are staples in our house! After waiting in line and checking out, which usually takes a LONG time (Ecuador is not for the type A personality), we grabbed a taxi back to the bus stop area.
Humitas are what I call the Ecuadorian version of the tamale. They are generally made with corn and plantains, filled with a touch of cheese and steamed in a corn husk, though no two humitas are created equal. We first fell in love with them around when we were travelling in Cuenca, in the highlands, where they are more popular. This was the first time we've seen them down here on the coast in the land of seafood and ceviche. Well, of course we bought a bag. They were so good; Ecuadorian comfort food at its best!
The bus drops us off right in front of the property we live on. We got home right as the sun was setting, enjoyed our humitas for dinner, and unpacked our spoils from the day. That wraps up this edition of what finding food in Ecuador looks like for us! It's amazing how giddy a shopping trip makes us! Having food on hand takes a bit more planning than in the States, and we love the reminder of how thankful we are to have food. We praise God for His provision!