Grocery Shopping with my Baby – Third World Style

google street view aracaju-4

With Nolan in the baby carrier I started to cross the street after a couple cars went by and a man, standing up on an old wooden cart pulled by his brown horse, suddenly dashed out behind a delivery truck, cutting us off on the small, quiet street in front of the grocery store. It shocked me. I froze up and looked down at Nolan’s big beautiful eyes. The last thing I expected to go by was a man riding high on his cart and horse. What the what? There are cars and trucks driving here.

google street view aracaju

But maybe it fit. The buildings on the street were either missing walls or were beautiful homes with barbwire lining the high walls guarding them. Trash lined the sides of the street, and a little boy stood outside a house that had no gate to guard it and no door to shut it off from the world. Where was his mother to tell him to stay inside, so no weirdo talked to him? The sidewalk ended abruptly into broken concrete and a pile of dirt.  (And we’re staying on the good side of town.)

google street view aracaju-3

Three days ago, I was shopping at my fav grocery store: Trader Joe’s, buying pre-sliced apples and delicious peanut butter cups for the flight. Today, we moved out of the hotel and into our 11-day apartment in Aracaju, Brazil. I raced over to the grocery store to buy food for dinner while Hector worked from home and Darian napped in the stroller near by him. I had 5 Reais, and my credit card.

When I got in the store, I asked the lady if they take credit cards. Well, maybe I did. I actually didn’t know how to say it. I said, “Teng Credit Carcheee.” She showed me some toothbrushes. I thanked her and decided to buy whatever I could with 5 Reais, which is less than $2.50.

I got some bananas or something that resembles bananas. I couldn’t find a produce bag to put them in. When I tried to leave the produce area, a guy stopped me and took my bananas. I watched him take them behind the meat counter. Was he rapping them up? He put them on a scale, {makes sense}, and put a sticker on them. I was at 1.19. I found something that looked like Ramen noodles for 0.89 and bought some cookies for a little over 1 Reais. We usually eat Paleo, but I didn’t see any baby spinach or kale.  Imagine that.

When I checked out, I saw that they take credit cards. I was too embarrassed to go back to buy more food, healthy food, so I just checked out as the lady asked me if I was going to get a toothbrush. “Nao. Obrigada.”

I got home, and a couple minutes later, Darian woke up. He was so happy to have bananas and excited for a cookie until he saw it and put it back. It looked a little different… I held off on making a delicious Ramen dinner until Hector’s 30-minute break. We went back to the grocery store to get some chicken, water, bread, and other produce.

google street view aracaju-2

Darian whispered, “Mom, it’s really yucky,” as we walked past all the trash. He didn’t want to talk to the little boy who was still standing outside the empty house. A lady across the street was sitting on a chair with a baby. I waved to her. Darian waved to anyone who rode by on a bike. A little girl with another girl rode her bike into the side of a driving car as her brother yelled at her. They were okay. She was too young to be riding a bike in the street.

When we left the store, another man with a cart and horse was digging up broken concrete and dirt and shoveling it into his cart. I held Nolan as we watched the man for a couple minutes. Then I noticed people were watching us watch him. I could tell they thought we were weird for watching this ordinary man working. He happened to be the highlight of our trip to the grocery store.


We got back to our apartment, and the guard let us in. We went up the elevator and into the swanky, modern apartment. I made a dinner that actually tasted really good, which was some dumb luck. I’m more of a heat up a Trader Joe’s dinner kind of person. It’s dark now, and my kids are in bed sleeping. (Just kidding. Darian is jet lagged and is playing behind me. I am pretending he is sleeping.)

I now know what people mean when they say, “Developing Country,” and I wonder if that little boy is standing outside of the empty house in the dark three blocks away.

[button type=”bd_button btn_middle” url=”” target=”” button_color_fon=”#3fc2da” button_text_color=”#FFFFFF” ]Subscribe to our Blog for the Latest Adventure[/button]

{By the way, all but the last picture are from Google street view because I wasn’t sure about taking my camera with me. And, Grandma Gale and Ms. Mae, we’re safe.}