the bodega

I light candles.
All the time.
Scented ones to set a mood in our house -
and religious ones, for various "intentions."

The candles I use are available all over Tuvalu.
Tuvalu, you see, is sprinkled with people from Honduras, Mexico, Peru and El Salvador, and these people have set up shops all over town.
There is Supreme Hot Foods, on the main drag, which has recently undergone an extensive remodel - in fact, I have often said that we paid for that remodel as the construction crews who worked on our house a few years ago ate two or three meals a day from Supreme Hot Foods. Supreme Hot Foods has a fancy new sign with an illustration of some ham and a chicken leg and some tomatoes.
There are four or five other deli/convenience stores that I cannot remember the names of, and they all have the same kinds of merchandise. Most of them sell vigil candles.
But Sweet Orange is where I buy my candles.
Located in one of the furthest reaches of Tuvalu, I found it when a friend of mine brought me a particular candle after 9/11.
It was the Mano Poderosa candle, otherwise known as Most Powerful Hand of God.

most powerful hand

She picked it up for me when our block was lighting candles in some kind of vigil - the details escape me...but when I read about what the candle meant? I had to find another one.
Because there was some problem that I needed help from The Most Powerful Hand for.

But when I asked her where she got it, she was vague - one of those little bodegas by the water, she offered.
I spent an afternoon trawling the little bodegas by the water before I found Sweet Orange.
And it turns out that they have a stunning array of religious candles, as well as a recently remodeled hot food bar and various and sundry spanish grocery items which I am unsure of as I do not read or speak Spanish.
I stop in every couple of weeks and am warmly greeted by the man behind the counter.
He has told me that the Virgin of Guadalupe candles serve him well and that he always has one lit...he tries not to make a big deal of my presence but until recently he has always been just a little surprised to see me in his store -
his store full of painters, construction workers, old men buying beer at eight in the morning, landscape crews, and Spanish ladies of all shapes and sizes.
I don't like to be waited on too quickly and will often hang back and watch what people order from the hot food bar.
It all smells delicious, but I have little idea of what any of it is.
Eggs, cucumbers, meat in some sauce, rice, plantains? yucca? bones?
In the case on the other side of the counter is chorizo, queso blanco, and hard white cheese -
alongside packaged products I have not yet identified.
Behind the register there are various remedies -
something that looks like Alka Seltzer
something for headaches?
something with ginseng.
In front of the counter are frozen treats, and it is these that I mean to try soon.
I heard someone asking for coconut ice and she was handed a cup with a stick frozen in it.
I want one of those.

Yesterday, while I was paying for my candles (after the construction crew got their lunches),
I noticed a fellow having guacamole put on his lunch.
Oh, I said, guacamole next time...I started to pay, and then said: No! Guacamole this time!
The shopkeeper asked how many...I guessed at one.
And for a dollar, Middle and I feasted on the freshest, best guacamole ever.


is my 1000th post.
I thank you.


Badger said…
Ooo. I can tell a lot about God from that picture of His hand. (The fact that He is a Fire Hand? Very appropriate. Don't get me started on His head and heart lines.)

Happy 1,000th post! I think it'll be another 3 or 4 years until I reach that. Although if you added up the posts from all my blogs together....
Anonymous said…
I love those candles. I think certain people in my house would give birth TO A COW if I started burning them, though.

1000 posts, huh? I need to get cracking.
Paula said…
Congratulations on 1000 posts. That makes you the postess with the mostest!

I am particularly fond of the Virgin, she kept vigil with me many, many nights.
lazy cow said…
Congrats on 1000 posts. Amazing. I have no idea about candles. I'm candle-impaired.
celestial opus said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MsCellania said…
ALL our grocery stores have these wonderful candles. Their scents are strong and sweet, and contain much less parafin due to the fact that they are not pillars and must keep their shape. They are a bargain. Plus, the faith that goes into the making of them!

When we could still afford our sweet cleaning ladies, they would always bring me special candles on my birthday. And it was the most tender gift I received.

Definitely trust eating at these stores. They are clean, offer completely home made from real food specialties, and serve honest portions for the money.

And I bet you have Mano Poderosa burning for the next 7 days straight.

ACK and now I'm craving guacamole!
MsCellania said…
Oh, and 1000th post! Congratulations!
--erica said…
1000! I'm so impressed! I'd gush about how much I love your blog.. but I'm afraid you get tired of hearing it! ;)
Anonymous said…
Hooray for 1000! And for bodegas! My grandma always uses that alka seltzer stuff, but only the Mexican kind... :)
BabelBabe said…
We have been eating avocadoes morning noon and night around here - they must be in season, because they are big and lovely and CHEAP right now so I have been buying them nonstop. I had an avocado and bacon sandwich for breakfast yesterday, and made avocado omelettes for brunch today. The other night, I just smushed up an avocado with a little mayo and celery salt and ate it heaped on whole grain bread. Yay for avocadoes!

I LOVE those candles. I can find them in the Mexican store in the Strip, and sometimes in the import section of the grocery store. When I was in L.A. though, I noticed they were sold everywhere, and cheap. They are beautiful, and I love that they have meanings.

Congrats on 1000th post!
islaygirl said…
Lovely post, bb. congrats on posting and posting and posting.
Anonymous said…
And I thank you, too!
turquoise cro said…
O! I wish I could find those candles around here! I light candles too! Happy 1,000th post! and I wish I could get one of those coconut ices too! Sounds so yummy and cool! lol
Claudie said…
And here's to the next 1000. And to coconut ice.
Anonymous said…
What a beautiful post! Congrats on the 1000-I love reading your blog! beautiful candles, too...
puerileuwaite said…
BB, congrats on your 1,000th. If there ever is a blog "Hall of Fame" (and I wouldn't be shocked if there is), you are a shoo-in. Unless, of course, they find out about the caffeine abuse, and the mysterious island of free-flowing prescriptions ...

But no worries, your dark secrets are safe with us (at least until I launch my "BB's Dark Secrets - Revealed!" blog).
Sarah Louise said…
I love the candles. I have one. I got them in the import section of our grocery store back when I was Catholic for a year.

And how appropriate that candles, which bring light, are in your 1000th post--since you bring light to our lives with your blog.

Oh, I know, so sappy! But it's true.

I'm not so crazy about most scented candles though.
Anonymous said…
I love the mystery of ethnic groceries. The Asian sort are my favorite, although right now I could really go for some guacamole.

Congrats on 1000!
Susie Sunshine said…
A grand grand it has been!

Thanks for letting us peek into your looking glass.
hannah said…
wow, 1000 posts!! I am totally in awe of you!

! love your candle story, and those candles are so lovely, wish there was somewhere round here that sells them, maybe there is but I do not know it, will have to look out.
Holy cow, was the first thing that came to my mouth, as words or course, after reading that this was your 1OOOth post!!! Then the second thought was: That is alot of candles to light.

Happy me to know I can read you 1OOO times plus!