So here’s a story meant to show just how much can be the same when living as an expat.
I grew up in small town Indiana in the 1960s and 1970s, just as shopping malls were killing off main street and local stores. Malls were the cool place to go and hang out. When you were too young to drive, you bummed a ride from friends, or if desperate, went with your parents, taking care NEVER to be seen with your parents while you were at the mall.
As I grew up and started a family of my own, malls became a useful place to one-stop shop, but they were only efficient in terms of time, not price, and seemed to attract a growing number of the wrong types (kids like me years before, but now I was a parent and didn’t want my kids associating with those kids :).
Anyway, I found myself in Guadalajara today, because we needed to shop for a variety of housewares and wanted a little more variety, if not the best price. And we found the Galerias Mall, which looked like something right out of Tysons Corner, Virginia.
Huge parking garage, check. Anchor stores (Sears, Liverpool), check. Food court, along with two Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Crispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, check. Kiosks hawking Sun Glass Hut, cell phones and toys, lots of glass and marble, several high end couture stores, check.
We arrived around 11:00 and the mall was pretty empty, but by 1:00 the restaurants and shops were doing brisk business. Clearly, this was no “ghost mall.” I am uncertain how I feel about this aspect of American culture exported elsewhere. It did feel a little like a time machine trip to 1975. We did find the housewares we needed, but I much prefer shopping in the small stores and tianguis in Mexico.
I just hope my Dad didn’t see me there.