Tag Archives: Vignette

Vignette

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I had two hours before the train left. Two hours in which I had to successfully find my hostel – not an easy task, especially in the falling twilight – repack my bags, carry them bodily to the main square, acquire a taxi, drive to the station, and board the train. I had enough time. But I wasn’t eager to dawdle, and I was walking briskly.

The lane was narrow, no more than two feet across. Ahead, I could hear the excited chatter of little boys around the bend. They came into view, and one of them, perhaps eleven years old, defiantly placed his arms athwart the passage, staring me down, daring me to continue.

I did.

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Vignettes

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

“Tourists are rubbish,” said the shopkeeper, disgusted I hadn’t happened to buy anything at his shop. “Rubbish,” he emphasized.

“It’s no problem, come closer,” the man said, gesturing me into his shop. Since his other arm was around my shoulders, pressing me forward rather roughly, it took some effort not to.

Catching my eye, the snakecharmer gave his cobra a sharp rap on the nose to make it hiss and stand up, neck flared.

“Bonjour!” the 12-year-old shopkeeper sang out, insistently. Getting no response, he continued in English, before switching to Spanish, trying German for good measure, and Arabic just in case.

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Vignette

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I stepped into the shop, drawn by the small, delicate tea glasses arrayed like a rainbow on the shelf. And then something I wanted caught my eye, and I picked it up, giving it a closer look. Still – almost impossibly – no one came rushing to beseech me to buy it, or to bargain with me, or even to tell me how much it cost. And then the shopkeeper came rushing in – but not because of me. Instead he had four twenty-something Spanish girls in his wake, and a tea tray, carafe, and four tiny tea glasses in his hand. Small stools were passed around and everyone sat down, smiling, in the middle of his shop. With a flourish, he raised the teapot high and poured, the liquid falling in a fine stream into the glass. Photos flashed, the tea was returned to the pot, and the process repeated until everyone’s photographic needs were satisfied. Then the four glasses were distributed to the four girls – all but one who refused, her glass passing to me. And they drank, smiling, continuing to chat and josh with the shopowner in Spanish. Aside from being pressed into service to take some collective photos with several cameras, I remained ignored, my potential purchase disregarded. On leaving, each girl received a kiss on both cheeks, and the owner finally turned to me. We bargained; a price was agreed. And as we made the exchange, he gave me a delighted smile, but not about my purchase. “Beautiful Spanish girls,” he explained.

Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Vignette

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

“My, that looks pretty,” I thought to myself, as a shade of vibrant green caught my eye. It was shallow serving dish, wide enough to wear as a sombrero, its movie-preview-screen shade of green set off by three large, alternating slices of silver – metal plating affixed to the ceramic. “I give you good price, special price,” the shopkeeper told me, murmuring seductively in my ear. “No problem, I show you.”

“Thank you,” I replied, “I wish I could, but I can’t buy it.”

“Why not?” he inquired.

“Because it would break in my luggage,” I explained, ruefully.

“It’s okay – you buy, and we keep it here for you,” he rejoined.

We parted laughing.

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment