I have just bought a new pair of glasses – obviously at an Optical Eyewear store. Not so obviously though was the lovely wee top I bought there too! Lorali’s Optical is one of our local shops in Old Bellevue on Main Street – just not far from our apartment. I have popped in several times to try on glasses, but never rifled through her small clothing selection (not small clothes, but small selection of clothes you understand) until I picked the glasses up a few days ago. That’s when I saw the wee sleeveless green silk top with the velvet piped neck ……… sigh ……… it was beautiful! It went so well with the glasses too! A strange combination in a store – eye wear and clothing (she also has shoes!) – but it works so well because Lorali loves her fashion. She visits Japan and Milan a few times a year for eye wear and so buys the end of line pieces she sells in her shop – all designer and good quality but surprisingly heavily discounted.
This is not the only store where we have been surprised to find what we would regard as ‘unusual’ products – or in fact, find products in an ‘unusual’ store! For instance, HG popped into a liquor store the other day but couldn’t find any beer. When he said to the bloke behind the counter that he couldn’t find the beer, they reply was ‘Oh sorry no – we don’t sell beer. The gas station just down the road does’.
Our local Rite Aid Pharmacy store is huge. Imagining it to be like our Chemists in New Zealand are, I never went in until a few months ago when I needed some pain relief. The first thing I saw when walking through the door was the HUGE wine, beer, and spirits section – ironically when you make a purchase you hand over your ‘Wellness’ card for a few points. In fact, Rite Aid Pharmacy store is a cross between a NZ Chemist, Liquor Land, and Mitre10 – it sells everything.
Oddly too is the fact that you are able, at Safeway’s, to buy just one can/bottle from a 6 pack of beer. This caused some confusion initially as feeling a bit like Miss Marple I once ‘reported’ to a passing staff member someone had stolen a bottle of beer from the 6 pack. She said ‘that’s fine, just get another one’ as I showed her the 6 pack less 1! Obviously sensing my disbelief – or reading the word ‘tourist’ written on my forehead – she explained that this single beer purchase from a set was allowed. I’m please to say I’m not the only one to have been fooled by this policy, HG got home once to discover only 5 beers in his box of supposedly 6 – it always pays to count your beers before you leave the supermarket (or not drink one on the way home?).
Whilst I am on the subject of shopping I need to mention my discomfort at shopping for ready-made shoes at the beautiful Nordstrom shoe department. The women’s shoe department is staffed overwhelmingly by men. They are of all ages, beautifully dressed, exceedingly polite, and always smile at you – and there appears to be at least 15 on the floor at the same time. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say – and you would be right but sadly I cannot bring myself to bare my feet or be helped into a pair of shoes by a man – however polite he is! Not for me is talk of ‘toe cleavage’ with a strange man sitting at my feet! I often walk through the shoe department dribbling over the shoes, but always when asked if I need help, bark back a wee bit too loudly ‘no thanks, I’m just browsing’. In reality I’m bursting to try several pairs on – it is my loss entirely. Perhaps foot therapy would help? On the bright side (there’s always a bright side) this phobia of mine is good for the wallet!
There are also things I’ve found in shops here which I really wish I would find more of in New Zealand. Mushrooms for example – plentiful are Oyster, Shitake, Morel, Enoki mushrooms. They are easy to find in supermarkets and are not overly expensive. Berries, although nearing the end of their season here now, have been plentiful for many months. They are always fresh, sold in huge packets, and cheap – yum! I bought the sweetest and tiniest grapes I’ve ever seen the other day! Gluten free food is everywhere here – and it’s nice. Crackers, cereal and especially bread – the GF bread is the nicest I’ve ever tasted, although to be fair I won’t miss wheat based bread – it is overwhelmingly sweet.
It is 6.50pm Friday evening and 32 Celsius. There is no wind. The hottest time of day here is normally around 5 or 6pm – I will miss this weather. Sleepless in Seattle is right – but for us lately its only because of the heat ……. and my nightmares about feet and well dressed men!!