Fruit and Mullets
Anyone who has ever been to Barcelona, knows La Boqueria. It's a farmers market frenzie, with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, excellent tapas bars, and way to many stagnant tourists. When I first got here, Marquetta, a Czech girl told me that she didn't like shopping in La Boqueria because the people at the different stands short change her and give her poor quality items because she doesn't really speak Spanish. I thought she was exaggerating, but have come to see this for myself. Indeed, it was a badge of honor when a woman scorged through dozens of tomatoes to find nice ones for me---which at .89 a kilo, are pretty cheap.
Today I bought a pineapple at the local market across the street from me. It cost 2.02 (which today is close to $813) and is excellent. I think the pineapple here--which comes from Costa Rica-- is of much better quality than what's available in New York, and it's cheaper. It got me wondering, and admittedly perhaps hoping, that the Costa Rican's set aside the best pineapples for the Spanairds and give the lesser ones to Marquetta and the US, at a higher price. Spanish cheese and olives are excellent and cheap, as is chocolate-- a lot of which comes from Switzerland--there's really no way around it, the Swiss do chocolate well. Everything pork related is good and cheap too.
I find myself choosing a lot of private label items in the supermaket and elsewhere. This could be due to the fact that I haven't been marketed at here and so am brand indifferent--or private label stuff is actually of very high quality. That's certainly the case at Decathlon. I love that place--they have anything you could imagine that's sports/outerwear related--brand names and private label and everything is cheap. I almost bought a kayak before realizing that I had gotten a little carried away.
Another product difference is haircuts. When you try to get a haircut, the default setting on the drop-down menu is the mullet. If you asked for nothing you would get a mullet. I had to dig pretty deep into my language arsenal to prevent this from happening--beginning with a gracious request, and ending in a polite yet firm stance. I was about to add that I would rather have died a schoolboy than sport a mullet, when my barber acquiesced and noddingly agreed to cut the back of my hair short.