It's been forever since I began the "Living in Laos" series of blogs. If you're new to the blog and am curious as to what I'm talking about here is the article on Living in Laos - Security and the one on Living in Laos - Schooling. So this blog is Part 1 on food. Food is a challenge here, at least if you want to eat American food. If we buy it in-country it's expensive and we have a lot of little mouths to feed so I do most of my major grocery shopping just across the border in Thailand. Here's a typical (I use this term VERY loosely because really nothing here is "typical") grocery shopping day.
12:30 - Leave the house after dropping the kids off from school and head to the border to cross over to Thailand
Cross the Friendship Bridge:
Then enter through the Thai border:
At this point, depending on the amount of people at the border, it's usually about 1:30pm (yes, one hour later).
My first stop is the Thai post office where we receive all of our mail and it is unopened (thank you, Thailand).
2:00pm - Next stop is...Starbucks, of course (this is a picture from my mom's visit in December...I can't believe it was almost a year ago!)
2:30pm - It's time to get busy so I go shopping at Tesco for things that I don't want in bulk, toiletries, and office supplies.
3:45pm - My last stop is Makro for everything else (meat, veggies, fruits, grains, cleaning supplies, and anything I want a LOT of).
This is the nightmare in the back of my car at the end of a typical shopping trip. I am a creative packer, though, so it IS possible.
5:20pm - Back through the Lao Border
5:45pm - Back home and time to unpack it all, but thankfully I have 5 great helpers at home who help me get it all done.
Luckily, I only do this mega shopping trip once a month. If I'm pressed for time I can usually make it home by 4:00pm by skipping extras like the post office and Starbucks, but hurrying makes me way more stressed and I usually forget something so I try not to do that. I also try to take someone with me so that we can get quality time together (even if it is running errands). Most of my fruits and vegetables I purchase in Laos because they aren't that different in price. But since we feed A LOT of people this is the cheapest option for us, although certainly not the most convenient. A bit different from the US, huh?