Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Discovering new shops in Beirut

So, while wandering away from a disappointing TSCPlus in Jnah the other day, our family accidentally walked into the top floor Monoprix. I had some vague idea of Monoprix being some kind of French version of Piggly Wiggly, but I really had no idea what to expect, and we didn’t see anything that would indicate this was a regular grocery store. Entering Monoprix was certainly a wow-moment even though we only saw clothes, cosmetics and the beginning of a linen/household department. Courtney and I looked at each other when we realized the potential of our discovery, and as we walked through the store, we got more and more excited, “Look at this!” Several things we have spent a lot of time searching for during our first year and a half here in Beirut were suddenly all available in one spot at reasonable prices: lamps, curtain rods, furniture, blankets, toys, and other household goods we still miss. We were so overwhelmed, and Abraham was getting impatient after our first failed attempt to shop at TSCPlus, that we decided not to buy anything in a haste, but to come back another day, more prepared. After all, we still needed to get food for the week. 

Weighed down by our immediate task, we proceeded to try and find our way out and make our way to Spinneys, when we noticed people were coming from somewhere with shopping carts, much like the ones a grocery store would provide. We asked a guard if there was a downstairs and he showed us the way to a set of escalators, leading, at this point in our view, to the gates of salvation: a new, exciting, seemingly nice and well-stocked grocery store, right there in front of us.

Although Monoprix didn’t carry all the things we needed (the cereal section left a few things to desire, and there was no beer (no alcohol section) which I needed for one of our recipes, it had *the* most incredible cheese- and deli-department, with Italian and French cheeses we had not seen since our last visits to those countries. In general, the store had an excellent selection of meats, cheeses, yogurts, and such, and I quite liked the fresh produce department and the bakery as well. Most of the prices were normal, the produce perhaps a little higher than we are used to. We left quite satisfied, although wishing we could have bought a nice bottle of wine with all the wonderful cheeses we had picked out. The guy who helped us out in the deli assured us that they would have an alcohol section ready within a couple of weeks, and I did notice that their advertisement showed that they had special prices on wine. All in all, it was a good shopping experience, and we’ll probably go back there soon, if nothing else to finally get us some curtain rods and lamps.

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