Thursday, December 2, 2010

El Ray

Yesterday, Jenna, Mason and I went to El Ray to pick up some special seasonings for Antonio and some groceries.  El Ray is a Mexican grocery store.  I have been outside of it many times when Antonio wanted to pick something up on the way to work, but I had never been in it.  Mason and I strolled around the store while Jenna was trying to find the right spices.  It was quite an interesting experience.  My camera was buried in the bottom of the cart under Mason so I didn't get pictures until we were headed out the door....sorry, but if you click on them and make them bigger, I am sure you will find them interesting.  The most fascinating thing I first saw was the 3 foot high pinata's.  They were up on the top shelf where you couldn't reach them.  The length of the whole aisle.  Dora, sponge bob, etc all the American cartoon characters.  Beautiful pinata's.  I can't imagine what it cost for one.  I just asked Antonio what he thought they cost and he thought maybe $20.00 or $30.00, he didn't think they cost a lot because they were so popular with the Mexican culture, and you fill them with your own candy.  I sure wouldn't want the candy  Some packaging in the store was the same as a regular store, but the majority was in Spanish, with interesting pictures on the packages.  Chicken's, latino women, etc.  Very, very intersting.  And looking at the meat cases, and deli cases, was pretty cool.  So different, and I didn't know what most of it was, except for a few things I have had at the house.  Jenna says she feels like she has been to the "market" when she goes there and she is right about that, it did have that feel to it.  Narrow aisles, some of the largest produce I have ever seen....the peppers were about twice the normal size of a green pepper.  One aisle we were trying to go down, Jen said was a bad aisle to get through as there were people lined up at the end of it as that is where they wire their money back home to family members that they help support.  They provide all kinds of services there, and have a restaurant too...kind of their own one stop shopping.  I saw the largest stock/soup pots I have ever seen.  The biggest one I saw up on the top shelf was 50 quarts.  It was huge and probably would cover all four burners on a stove.  I said to Jen, that they probably use that when they had the WHOLE fam over....and she said yes and we laughed.  Quite an experience and I loved it.  As I was strolling around their with Mason, I was thinking about what a diversed life he will have, the best of two worlds.  Very different from my own childhood where I was rarely exposed to any other cultures, it didn't happen too much in Mayberry.  One of the clerks who was helping Jenna came up to Mason, spoke to him in Spanish and pinched his cheek.  He smiled at her, as he is used to people speaking Spanish to him.  I would love to be inside his little brain to see how it works as he is learning two languages at once.  Even the check out area was so different.  Very different candy, and mainly nuts. Most of which I had never seen before.  I know Antonio loves nuts.  Jen bought a package for him, his favorites.  I bought one too and will put it in his Christmas package.  Only 99 cents.  And I was totally amazed at the amounts of different spices and seasonings that they have and use.  Corn silk, and bark, and who knows what else it is.  A lot of it reminded me up stuff that you watched medicine men stir up into a paste.  As Jenna says they also use them for medicinal purposes too, and she laughed.  Our joke as Antonio has his own theories about how to cure something that we think are kind of wacka doo....but we still love him.  You can't help not loving him.  It was a fun experience.

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