The Chinito (small Panamanian store)

“Chino” is Spanish for a Chinese person.  In Panama, the tiendas (little shops) are all owned by Chinese people. So they are called “Chinitos.”  Me and my family have moved to Panama to live for the next nine months.  We have just moved in to a new house and we’ve been working on painting the house.

One early afternoon, my dad gave me some money and sent us down to the Chinito to get ourselves a pop.  It was about a half-mile walk to the Chinito, and on the way we passed a bar. All the peopleat the bar kept staring oddly at the three “gringo” boys that were walking along the Panamanian path.

Panama-walking
Walking in our Panamanian neighborhood.

We got to the Chinito and casually walked in like we owned the place. Earlier, mom gave me a shopping list, and I started looking around for things.  After the unsuccessful shopping spree, I went ahead and started buying our pops.  I noticed that the glass bottles of Coke were super cheap ($0.35), so Jesse and JonDavid got themselves some pop in plastic bottles, and I got two glass bottles: a bottle of pop for me and one for my dad.

When we got to the counter to pay, we paid for all the pop and started to leave, but the owners stopped us and said something in Spanish.  I figured the prices were so low because I had only paid for the pop liquid, not actually the bottle the pop comes in. So I switched the glass bottle of pop for a plastic bottle, and everything was A-Ok. We then started walking back to our house, sipping our pop in plastic bottles, and being stared at by the Panamanians. Not bad for my first solo trip to the store!

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