I Can’t Believe There’s Not Butter!

(Note: I changed the title of this post after hearing Angela say something similar to that)

Angela walked down to the main “pulpería” here in Berlín just a little bit ago. For those of you who don’t know, a Costa Rican pulpería is basically like a general store or a convenience store, only less general and less convenient. There are now three of these stores in Berlín, two of which have opened in the last year. Basically, it’s where some dude or woman decides they want to open a business in their own home; to open your own pulpería, there are three main steps:

1. Buy or steal a display counter, along with a few bags of chips and some assorted candies
2. Move your TV to your garage
3. “It’s business time!”

This way, you can stay home all day watching TV while ostensibly “working.”

In any case, we almost never buy anything in Berlín because there’s just not that much to buy. Plus, I guess I like “weird food,” which is basically anything beyond rice, beans, and chips. I also enjoy weird things like “cheese,” “cream,” “soup,” and “flour.”*

Still, Angela wanted to make a cake, and we didn’t have butter. So she walked to the pulpería and asked if they had butter. The lady –mind you, this is a lady who runs a general store– asked what butter was. Not, “No, we don’t have butter” but rather, “Butter? What’s that?”

Every time someone visits us, they ask, “Why do you guys drive all the way down to Palmares to go shopping? Couldn’t you just buy things at that store over there?”

That’s why.

*Note: These are four real examples of items that I tried –in vain, and while receiving incredulous looks– to acquire at the pulpería before I simply gave up.

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