Grocery Shopping in Mazatlan
You will be amazed at the quality produce you can buy here in Mazatlan - all the fruits and vegetables are fresh, meat is butchered daily and is very, very tasty. You can usually find an "Abarrotes" on every block. This is a small convenience store where you can find dry goods, bread, and fresh produce. There are also "Lecherias," which are like "Abarrotes" but have milk and refrigerated goods. The next step up is a "Super" which are like "Lecherias" but also have liquor. There are also several "Fred Meyer" style shopping centers here in Mazatlan: the Ley, Gran Plaza and Gigante. Here you can find anything imaginable, furniture, appliances, pharmaceuticals, produce, dry goods, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, you name it. Prices vary - goods imported from the States are generally a little more expensive here than they are there. Local Mexican-made products are usually priced very reasonably. Here is some vocabulary you might find useful:
Most meat in the US
and Canada has color added to give that nice red look. In Mexico
this is not a common practice. Dead flesh turns grayish, so don't
be put off it unless that gray has a greenish or bluish tinge,
or smells "off".
Vegetables and Fruits
Mexico has a wonderful
array of fresh fruits and vegetables, and if you are going to
be in the country for any length of time, you will want to shop
at the "mercados" (market) and peel the fruits or boil
vegetables. Fruits and vegetables should be washed in sterilized
water so that a weak chlorine bleach solution kills offensive
Cleaning and Eating Vegetables and Fruit
Always wash, then soak
in water containing 8 drops of iodine solution or 1 capful of
bleach, for 30 minutes.
Shellfish tend to spoil quickly. This is especially true when the weather is hot. Even though you love your oysters, the possible results are not worth it.
Fish Stores sell fillets
of fish rather than the whole fish.
If You Do Get Sick
Even if all of your careful precautions should fail, and you get sick anyway, you know that you are not helpless. Many well-meaning articles have suggested "toughing-it-out" with intestinal ailments, and "letting nature take her course". Checked with your doctor before you leave home, and obtaine a prescription for "Bacrtrim F" tablets (also available in Mexico without a prescription). Bactrim effectively annihilates offensive bacteria within twelve hours after dosing. To control watery stool, you can also take Lomotil. Occasionally an unfortunate forager will come into contact with food poisoning. The symptoms are usually quite pronounced and "miserable". Happily, the most common variety of food poisoning in Mexico (infrequently encountered however) lasts only 12 hours. The only cure for food poisoning is time. Sipping sugary soft drinks is a good way to maintain energy. Make sure that you drink enough while sick so you avoid dehydration. Drinking Gastrolite (a powder you add to water) or even Gatorade will you stay hydrated.