“To market, to market, to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, dancing a jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.”
~ Mother Goose
I absolutely love market days here, though I don’t take part nearly as often as I should! And I’ve never bought a pig or a hog there, but I did almost buy a rabbit once – for a pet, not for food. On пазар ден (paw-zar den, market day) the shops are going in full force and street vendors are plentiful. In the market area itself you can find row after row of locals and people from the surrounding villages selling fruits, veggies, clothes, kitchen utensils, tools, and just about anything else you could need or imagine. You are guaranteed to hear “Повели?” (pronounced Poe-vel-ee and basically means “Can I help you?”) at least 107 times just walking through.
Now that the warmer weather has begun, the produce is looking better and better! I’ve started making fruit salads, smoothies – which I can never get quite right – and шопска салата (showp-skaw sa-lata) which is chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with a fetta-type cheese called сирeње (see-ren-yay).
But my most recent market day – aka yesterday – was the best one yet. I have seen some beautiful clothes in the market, but I was always scared to buy any – I like to try things on before I buy, especially here! I was just looking around at some different shirts and a sweet lady was trying to sell me one of them (they are definitely good salespeople here!), but I was really hesitant. Then she said a few words that very well might change the rest of my time here, “You can try it on if you want.”
I was in shock. Where in the world can I try this on??? Then she wove me back behind/ between some of the booths and showed me a little curtain that was hung to form a make-shift changing room. The space was small and the curtain was not as thick as one might hope so it was rather awkward. But, still, I was getting to try it on!
Then I realized I was in a tiny curtain box and there was no mirror. So I peeked out to see the sales lady standing there holding a little 5″x7″ (or something close to that size) mirror. So I saw the top, then the middle, then the bottom. Haha! But then I got bold. I began asking people if they had a place to try things on and every single one of them did!!! I’m sure several booths share the same curtain box, but I’m amazed at (and grateful for) their creativity! I ended up trying on 3 or 4 shirts – and even bought one!
After leaving the market I decided to head to a clothing shop my friends had told me about the day before. Everything in the store is 220 MKD (about $4). I now have two more new shirts and a new favorite store here. It even had an American-esque fitting room complete with a full length mirror!
I hadn’t planned on buying 3 shirts when I left the house yesterday morning, but knowing that usually clothes here are just as expensive as they are in the States and that I got all three of them for about $20 – I was pretty pleased. It was also a great self-confidence boost. The sales people here could probably convince (or at least try to convince) a dolphin that it looks good in – and even needs – a fur coat. Haha!
In other news, but along the same lines, I was unable to purchase my produce yesterday so I bought a bunch of bananas from a man down the road today. I got home this afternoon and grabbed one for a snack. As I was peeling off the sticker I realized it said, “Hola, chica!” Who knew a random Spanish greeting could make me so happy?!? I’m not sure why, but I loved it!!! And the banana was delicious.
All in all, I love Prilep and I love market day and I am EXTREMELY excited about the fitting room information – so many new possibilities!!! Bring on Saturday!!!