Today I went to the bazaar in Kriva Palanka for only the second time since I’ve lived here……what with holiday travel and injuries, etc. I think the bazaar must be much diminished at this time of year as there are so many stalls empty……a promise of summer vegetables to come. Still, I was able to procure potatoes, onions, leaf lettuce, spinach, rice and beans. The latter in big piles laying loose on tables–I can’t remember EVER watching someone scoop up and measure or weigh an amount of any kind of grain I was purchasing to eat. I looked at some kind of grain-groats and had a semi-conversation with the woman selling them, but just didn’t want to buy something that I didn’t know exactly how to cook. (Will probably be in a more adventurous mood on another day.) When I explained that I was looking for beans, she came from behind her table and walked me over to another vendor explaining to him that I spoke English…..but he was willing to sell me his beans anyway. My point here is that I’m always amazed at the generosity of strangers.
At the potatoes and onions station I watched and tried to copy the behavior of others making similar purchases, I thought I had done a decent job…until I was asked for 65 Denars for one kilo of onions and 1 kilo of potatoes (about $1.10). Since I didn’t HAVE 65 Denars, I counted out 70 Denars truly expecting change. Instead the vendor looked at me quizzically and walked me back over to the produce fishing out 3 more potatoes and 2 more onions. Apparently one is supposed to over-buy and under-measure at the bazaar and 5 Denars change is deemed superfluous. I hope that when I shrugged my shoulders and smiled it wasn’t an offensive thing to do!
On the 1.5 mile walk home along the main highway my attention was drawn to the sound of a chicken squawking. I looked around thinking it a rather odd sound when my gaze alighted on a man coming in the opposite direction… carrying 3 chickens upside-down by the legs. I looked a little harder not wanting to believe they were alive, but yup they were, and I couldn’t blame the one that was occasionally squawking. I KNOW these people raise animals to slaughter and eat, but I’m still a bit taken aback when it happens in a medium-size town and I’m confronted with it along main street.
I’ll try to remember the camera next time………