My friend Cristina has been showing me the neighborhood. She’s the person who told me about my apartment, and she lives and works in the immediate area. She is a wealth of information about the neighborhood. Cristina gave me a short walking tour of the area to show me where the local grocery stores are, where the best vegetable vendor can be found, and which local bakery provides reasonably priced bread.

Cristina also introduced me to the “chino” store, which is a term used to describe a store filled with all kinds of goods from light bulbs to towels, cutting boards to cleaning supplies, shopping carts to note cards. The name comes from the owners of these stores, most typically Asian families. Telling someone that they can find shipping boxes at the chino store down the street does not convey a negative connotation, but a store that has a little of everything for a very reasonable price.

Since I had just moved everything from my hotel room into my apartment, I was lacking a variety of items for daily living, including a dish drain, a shower curtain, and wastebaskets. The owner knew Cristina, since she lives in the building across the street and shops at the store regularly. Upon the completion of my purchase of about 35, the owner asked if I would like a beer or a Coke as a thank-you for my order. Not surprisingly, the beer was the first thing to go into my apartment refrigerator.

After shopping for groceries, Cristina and I wanted dinner, and decided to go to a local pizza shop. The meal was awesome, and I’ll be going back sometime for pictures and an opportunity to see what else is available on the menu. Afterwards, we both decided that a little ice cream would be welcome, so we went to Burger King near the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Now, as a vegetarian, I can’t say that Burger King is usually one of the choices of restaurants that I select, but in addition to a delicious dessert, I got a nifty spoon in the “strawberry crunch” sundae that I ordered. Dubbed the “moon scoop,” both Cristina and I had a good laugh about it. I think it is supposed to be a mixer spoon, but in reality, there was no mixing involved. At all.

I’m hoping to go back so I can build up a set of 8 to match my fine china and silverware.