Sunday, August 2, 2009

Belgrade day 2

Morning comes to visit me in my slumber and I grunt at it for a while, then reluctantly give in to it and get up. I walk to the market, it saying in my tourist book that you should "go to the market and speak to the people there" and as I am also interested in buying some fruit I take my city map and go for a wander. En route, I am reassured to find myself lost a little, it really feels comforting for me, I don1t know why! Perhaps it is an excuse to ask for directions and strike up a conversation, or maybe because it forebodes adventure. Anyhow, I get both. First the asking for directions, and a young couple Ivan and Dusan are going in that direction so walk with me, they are very friendly and it put me straight by some fruit stalls. SO I wander in, and spying a rather perfect looking onion (I have decided to cook for myself now I am in a hostel!)I approach the old lady behind the stall and ask her how much for it. She looks a bit like Mother Theresa and her waving away of my attempt to pay is one of polite and kind saintliness. So I grab a chili and a clove of garlic, and then inquire as to whether she will take money for them. She begrudgingly accepts 15 pence worth of Dinars, but perhaps to make things fair on her side, she closes the deal by giving me two tomatoes. Well, I have been learning that morning the extra special words of VERY good and thankyou VERY MUCH, so I fish into my own handwritten phrase book and with quite a few "just a minute" eyebrow gestures to keep her attention, I extract jacko dobro and hvala mnugo to in some way "pay", or at least express my gratitude. After all, as a lover of most comestibles, this sort of sales tactic was like a red rag to a bull, so off I go to the next stalls, the nectarines sitting plump and looking at me. So for 2o pence I acquire 6 nectarnines, and then I see some blackberries, and a large punnet of very fat blackberries are mine for 20 pence. Thinking I might have actually payed for something on this charitable continent, I decide to buy something luxurious, Turkish Delight. It says 140 dinars (47 pence) on the box, so I ask for this amount (sto centri deset) of dinars worth, and what comes back but a kilogram of turkish delight! I give up, each time I try to, I fail to spend what things seem worth. So I rest on the "bar" of this stall, and try the guidebooks tip of chatting to the people there. The first guy I speak to, a veteran fellow with brown skin and not many teeth straight away gives me a sausage. Not outdone, i offer him some turkish delight, which he declines, but we chat a little with mime and a few brief words and it is very nice and I am grateful for the sausage (even if he will take nothing for it!). And then i chat to a guy called Milos, who is drinking a beer. I inquire the cost, quite innocently, and he then buys me not one but 2 beers! Great, the sunshine begins to look even lovelier. He will not take turkish delight either, on account of his heart, and slightly hilariously ina black sort of way, I am thwarted from offerring soem to the next guy becuase of great scar down his chest indicating where he was cut open for heart surgery. No sugar for him then. But the charity doesnt wend here, as Milos is impressed by my word knowledge of serbo-bosnian-croat, and we get along pretty well and at the very zenith of chairty in my trip to the market comes with him paying for me to take a taxi ride home, at a cost of 5 pounds! Incredible. So I get back to the hostel in time to brag about my exploits to the gathered backpackers, feeling very Marco Polo and quite a superior travelling person, if I say so myself. Tonight I sleep on an island with lots of mosquitos and a towel over my face, but I will leave that for the next one. Bye for now.

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