Saturday, October 01, 2005

Shopping at the Galeria

Yesterday we went shopping at the there isn't a Galeria in San Miguel de Allende. It is in Queretaro. It is about 1/10th the size of the Houston Galleria but it is the SAME. Nice department stores, specialty shops, kiosks, and food courts. It is anchored at one end by Liverpool and at the other by Sears. Liverpool is like a nice Macy's Department store but this Sears is nicer than any I've been to in Houston. And the other interesting thing about this Sears is that it houses other stores within it such as Foley's and Pier One. The clothing area is large and has name brands. It is merchandised really well.

We went shopping because we need to furnish our new office studio. I do have the workstation/desks set up but we want to furnish the other end with a nice seating area by the fireplace. My friend Jan had some wonderful rattan chairs and she said she bought them at Sears in Queretaro. When she told me that I knew that this was not my Houston Sears and I wanted to go see what else they might have.

Both Ned and I had shopping lists. One of the things on my list was to see if I could get my glasses repaired. The frames are really too expensive but I bought them anyway. They are titanium and I have been told that when a piece of it breaks, it can not be put back together. Well of course the metal earpiece broke in half. I had been trying to use older pairs of glasses that I have with me but I couldn't see. I thought we might stand a better chance of getting them repaired in Queretaro than in San Miguel.

We stopped in Opticas Lux in the Galeria and they carried the same frames....and what was interesting they were about the same price that I paid for them in Houston. The only way they could be repaired was to order a whole new ear piece for about 1/3 the cost of the frame...but then the ear piece is about 1/3 of this frameless frame. I was hesitating about doing it but when I said okay, they decided that they could take an earpiece from one of the frames they had and put it on my glasses. They did the job quickly and nicely so now I can see again.

The other objective was to look at furniture....actually chairs. At Sears we found the rattan chairs and lo and behold, they was in the Pier One department. When you buy something, you even get a Pier One shopping bag instead of a Sears shopping bag.

We wanted to buy a pair of the chairs but didn't want the ones off of the floor and they didn't have any in stock. They said we would have to order them and they would have them in 8 days but we needed to pay in full before they would order. Although we didn't like that we decided we would do it but we were going to pay with a Visa card. First of all they only wanted a Mexican credit card but then they decided that they would take the American Visa. The Mexican Bank would not accept the credit card and said we needed to call Visa in the USA. We knew that there wasn't actually a credit problem with the card because we check on line everyday or so to be sure that there are not any bogus charges on the card. Then we realized that it has been several years since we used this Visa card in Mexico. The credit card companies are being very careful about credit cards being used out of the country if you don't regularly use them in traveling abroad.

At this point, we just decided to wait. We would come back with pesos in hand and order them another day. When we check out Pier One on-line, we found that the same chair in Houston would cost about 2/3rds of the cost at Sears. Of course, the chairs are already here in Mexico and we don't have to bring them down.

I had been told that the clothing in the Galeria was expensive. From my quick look at women's clothing, I think the prices are similar to Houston prices but what I didn't see was the racks of "sales" where the clothing is reduced 25 to 40%. So it probably is expensive for Mexico. Still it is good to know that if you need something you can probably find it in the brands you are familiar with. And having places like this Galeria is also an indication of Mexico's growing middle class.

Another item on our list was a replacement pot for the Mr. Coffee maker which we bought in Mexico. The old pot is broken and we have been trying for two weeks to find another one. Walmart didn't have one. Costco didn't have one, Liverpool didn't have one and Sears didn't have one. We may end up having to buy a whole new coffee maker.

It was after 3:00 PM....this had been a full day of shopping and the one thing that we got accomplished was getting my glasses repaired. Time to head for home. Forty-five minutes later we still were just a few miles from the shopping area. A huge truck with a large load had turned over on the exit we needed to take and we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Finally we were able to get past the wreck, make a U-turn and get back on the road for San Miguel. Reminded me why I love to be able to walk anywhere I want to go in San Miguel.

As a note of explanation, all of these images were shot at a high ISO and from the hip which means that the camera just stayed on the strap, hanging from my shoulder and I pressed the shutter release when I thought that there was something interesting ahead of the lens. The Galeria was loaded with security people and I'm sure that if I had brought the camera to my eye, I would have been told no photos....just like I would have been told in the Galleria Houston.

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