Monday, August 21, 2006

To Market To Market

We left out children with their grandparents this morning, assuming that they could figure out ways to communicate with each other long enough for us to have a little time alone. There is a fair in Cantanhede, the city just up the road, and it was in full swing by the time we got there. There were people everywhere and most of them had cars. Thankfully, they were tiny European cars so we were able to find a place to park because you can fit about 2,000 of them in a postage stamp of a parking lot. Hey, and when the parking lot is full, they all just park on the sidewalk anyway. Parking? HA - we laugh at parking!

We crossed the street to enter the fairgrounds and by fairgrounds I mean big, dusty, gravelly parking lot. Let the deluge of the sense begin! We were moving slowly with the crowds. The sun was hot and there was no shade. I think I may have mentioned that there is the tiniest bit of reluctance by men here to wear deoderant. Yeah, did I mention the sun? I thought so. There were people shouting prices, clapping for attention from customers, on tables yelling to everyone. One man jumped on the back of a truck and started screaming through a megaphone. I have no idea what any of them were saying but I knew they must be telling me about their low, low prices. There was clothing, table linens, housewares, produce, farm equipment, pottery, furniture and live animals. They have everything that you could possibly want. How many times have I been out shopping for bras and thought to myself, "Now, if I could only buy a live chicken, I would be set"? Yeah, well, it wouldn´t be a problem for me here. We bought a soccer jersey for a friend but nothing else, though I did have my eye on a gigantic, hand carved wooden spoon. Gigantic - like three feet long. I could have stirred a whole lot of something with a spoon that big.

We took our leave of the fair and had to go to another little market to get tomatoes for Luisa´s stepmother. I´m not sure why she needed the tomatoes because there was a whole pile on the counter but Luisa was going to do as she was told. Fernanda instructed Luisa to go to the market, look for a stall in which they were selling vegetables, find the third woman from the right and get the tomatoes from her...to tell her that Fernanda had sent her. This was one of the rare moments in which I was happy that I don´t speak much Portuguese because there is no way in hell I wanted to have any responsibility in solving this mystery. After knocking three times on a small door, uttering the words as instructed and doing the secret handshake while blindfolded, Luisa got the tomatoes. She then had to get bread but, apparently, there is no secret society for bread procurement so we just walked up to the bread stall and bought it. Luisa also bought me a chocolate eclair. We then left the little market and waded through the crowds. I am embarrassed to say that I didn´t wait until we got in the car to eat the eclair. I am even more embarrassed to say that I ate it in the most graceless fashion. I split the top from the bottom and licked out the goo and the chocolate was melting all over my hands and pieces were falling on my shirt and I was licking my lips and despite all the bras and the live chickens, I think I might have been more of a spectacle. I am sure that every single person I passed thought, "I bet she is American".

5 comments:

Susan Raffo said...

aw hon, i think when i saw the agility with which you scooped the cream out of that eclair, they just figured you were a lesbian.

Kristin said...

Thanks for this post. it was great!

Kristin said...

Hey, how did it go with gramma and grandpa?

Vikki said...

How did it go with the grandparents? Well, we were gone 1 hour and 15 minutes (9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.) and when we returned, Miguel was watching Chicken Run on the big tv in the living room and had just finished an enormous bowl of ice cream. Zeca was being carried around the house. It went well.

Kristin said...

I am glad to hear that Miguel has resumed his ice cream ritual.

I like it that Zeca is being carried places by her grandparents.