Friday, June 22, 2018

Casual Dining Leads to Dangerous Expense

Thursday, having most of a day free, I decided the best thing for life would be stable internet and getting work done so I'm not behind on work when I get back from another work related trip. Considering that traveling feels like 24 hour working, I'm always a bit amused by how things pile up when I'm not just sitting in front of my computer doing stuff. Internet makes the doing of stuff much easier, so I found a space and worked away.

Around lunchtime, I figured it was time to take a break and possibly to enjoy some of the country I was traveling through, so I started walking, taking pictures and looking for food. I wanted something very local and not fussy, which had me moving in and out of various back alleys looking for the right thing. I like eating street food, but I wasn't fairing very well on places that looked like they wouldn't kill me. After about 10 minutes of stumbling around, I finally called up a map, found the spot where the places to eat were hidden (by a mall, of course) and walked into a nice little street side sushi place. For 10 dollars, I managed to have plenty to eat and amused the locals who wanted to practice English with me.

"I English study. You need. You ask me. Okay?"

"I teach English. I will ask for you."

We smile. I use translator, deciding to spare myself the stress and anxiety of fumbling through the language, though I try only to use it sparingly, preferring the experience of fumbling through the language to remind me what it is those who are learning from the content I develop experience.

A nice, sunny warm walk awaited me back to the co-working space, and since I was no longer searching for food I could take a less circular walk back. Starting down the main street in an area that seemed to be made up mostly of auto repair shops, something waving in the light breeze caught my eye.

As I got closer, I confirmed that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing: free floating fabric.

Internally, I tell myself to just walk by, but there is no chance in hell that I'm going to pass up an opportunity to look at fabric. And, what beautiful fabrics. Entranced by the most perfect georgette that was exactly what I was looking for, I started to feel around and look through the bolts. The Brazilian shopkeeper, who reminded me much of my many shop keeping hajumas, was on me in a second and started to put things in my hand, speaking fast Portuguese. Establishing that I did not speak Portuguese, I fired up the translator and began to learn and practice new phrases, "Quanto custa um quintal?"

And from there, I was doomed. I tried, really, really hard not to buy anything as I have a small 20 inch suitcase that already was full of clothes for the 5 day trip, but try as I might, after studying the bolts I was poured over for longer than a second, the hajuma didn't miss a beat to put just the right pieces in front of me. She even cut the fabric where I stood, Korean style, none of this hauling bolts of fabric all over the place, just get the amount I want and move on.

Her selection was exquisite, and almost all of the fabrics she had were fabrics that I adore She could even tell that I was clearly searching for something very specific, and she was right. I pulled out the translator again and managed to describe basically what I was searching for: a floral print on black in a light weight fabric for a summer weight kimono. I've been wanting this exact thing for awhile, but haven't been able to find the right fabrics for it. Sure enough, in seconds she pulled me into a section I hadn't seen and there lay my prize, with an excellent flowy drape and the most elegant pattern for a nice summer kimono.

At this point we had both gotten fairly comfortable speaking into the translator and letting it do the work for us and finally I called and end to it, much to her amusement as she was already firing up new pieces of fabric for me to take a look at. She laid out every piece, and total I pulled up a final phrase to say goodbye.

She handed me the bill and I just nodded, and pushed play on my final message.

"Agora estou falida, mas também muito feliz. Obrigado."

She laughed and smiled, and I stuffed a backpack meant for work with a bunch of pretty colors and wended the rest of the 15 minutes back to my office space to finish out my work day.

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