Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This Always Happens When I'm Shopping

We finished our lunch, my tequila, her tequila. I drank something called a Cabo Wabo on the Artist's instruction/advice, and I had to say I mightily enjoyed it.

“All right, where to now?” she asked.

“I’m thinking we walk over to the bottle shop, get some wine, then do the grocery thing and buy some food for breakfasts and dinners so we don’t eat our hosts out of house and home.”

It was agreed, and so we started to walk. We walked into a little silver-and-sarong shop where I saw a pretty pink sarong that I adored, but decided I would consider/buy later. In the meantime we pressed forward and found that next to the wine shop there was a little clothing store.

“Do you mind if we peak in? I just want to look.”

“Of course not; they have those dresses you like. I almost bought one for you, but I thought you might go shopping.” She smiled. The woman knew me well. The shop was probably what you would expect on Maui, a bit touristy but with many pretty dresses and wraps, and things that would look good for relaxing and for beach wear.

As we walked the friendly Asian owner walked over to us and offered to help us with anything we needed. I responded that we would be fine. The Artist was ahead of me looking about, and the woman asked her where she was from, to which she replied that she was from Florida via Korea.

Gwaenchanhayo? Nanun hangumal haseygoita?”

Moya!” I replied, “Nonun hanguk saramyo?” I asked, to the total shock to the ajjuma.

“Oh, nae, hanguk saraum, no hanguk saram?”

Andiyo, nanun yungulgyosunimeayyo,” I replied back. As soon as she asked the Artist if she spoke Korean my brain flipped a switch and that was all she wrote.

“Her Korean is better than mine,” the Artist smiled.

From there the ajjuma and I quickly broke into a conversation about where I was from, why I was there, what we were looking for, and what we needed.

“Oh, yeah, okay, here, this, yapuda, nae! You try this on. On you, eepiyo.”

From there it was an absolute frenzy of pulling things of shelves, accepting or rejecting them, and tossing them about. Finally, I insisted the Artist start trying things on, and much to her dismay made her buy a very sexy blue-striped dress that I insisted she bring on our next trip. While she was trying things on I mentioned to the ajjuma that we were in a bit of a hurry (sansangnim, bali-baliyo!) to which she replied in rapid-fire Korean that she understood and we would hurry. It was at that moment that some additional tourists entered the shop, while she was still speaking to me in Korean.

“Oh, hi, if you need anything, just let me know, sorry for not speaking English,” and then she turned back to me and grabbed and dress and insisted in Korean that this dress would be perfect for me. Then she grabbed me, tossed the dress over my head, and over my clothes and dragged me to the mirror.

“Ya, you see, maja.”

I just started laughing, and looked at the ajjuma, pointed to the dress and pointed to the mirror and just said, “Sunsangnim, Korean style!” We both burst out laughing. I don’t think that she would have considered throwing clothes over someone else’s outfit to get them to try it on had it been anyone other than a Korean in her shop, but somehow, within all fifteen minutes that we were in that shop, she could just as easily have been in Itaewon or Insadong or even (gods forbid), Gangnam, selling just as hard and throwing a dress over a foreigner's head to make that sale; in Korea, a totally acceptable sales tactic. We even negotiated prices in Korean and I talked her down twenty dollars on both my pieces and the Artist's pieces, and she gave us some “service” in the form of bracelets that she picked out.

As we left, a bit more bagged down with clothes, to the bottle shop, the Artist just laughed.

“She totally just took us for a ride.”

“Yeah, I know, but it was worth it.”

“You enjoyed every second of it.”

“Yeah.”

I did. I missed Korea, and had she just been a seller on Maui with cute dresses, I doubt we would have spent much money in there at all, but she was Korean, and because of that, I ended up with two dresses and a bracelet, and yet another amusing run in with my home away from home.

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