Saipan Shopping Adventures

My trip to the shops yesterday would be considered a frustrating chore in most places. By Saipan standards? Just another day in the life of. Brittany and I planned our entire week of recipes around having two different types of chicken: canned chicken breasts, and skinless, boneless, chicken breasts. Both are typically in large supply at the major shop here. We had bought most of the groceries for the week at the smaller store down the road Sunday evening. My mission for Monday was to head to the big shop and purchase the chicken we needed, the chicken our meals relied on.

I must have wandered through the entire store twice in search for the chicken; they had sold out of both kinds. I needed to get milk too, but that was all out of date. Out of the five items I went to the store to buy, I got two. That was a little bit frustrating, but not to worry: I could try another store further up the island. They don’t usually have the skinless, boneless, chicken, and it meant entering the tourist centre of the island (I wasn’t thrilled about that), but needs must.

I breathed a sigh of relief when, for the first time I have seen, they had the right kind of chicken breasts, and fresh too. I grabbed the last six, and continued shopping for the rest of what I needed. I was unable to find any canned chicken, which was disappointing; that was supposed to be our lunches. I did get everything else, though, and lined up to purchase my groceries.

It was then that I discovered their network was down, which meant no credit card, and that affected the ATM sitting nearby. Leaving my groceries with them (they said they would return them to the shelf, I didn’t have to bother) I went off to hunt for an ATM. I had no idea where the closest was, but hopefully I would be able to get one from the bank I had an account at so I wouldn’t be charged $3 more for my groceries. It didn’t take me long to find one (and at the bank I needed), so I got my cash out and returned.

I grabbed a new basket when I got inside, assuming that they put mine back as I couldn’t see it where I left it. You can imagine my displeasure when I discovered the chicken breasts I had so fortuitously nabbed were gone. I was on my way to the checkout to ask if they had returned the items, when one of the staff who had seen me enter the shop intercepted me, nobly bearing my prized basket of groceries.

Worn and weary, I returned home with almost everything I went to the store to purchase. What had meant to be a 15 minute trip had turned into an hour long escapade. Despite all its oddities, though, I do love it here.



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