via the market
I'd mentioned to Mohammed that I'd like to take home some dates. Following our walk around the city with Abdullah, he met us and promised to stop at the best place on the way to the airport. This turned out to be the "Italian Market" and my goodness, what a place!
I always enjoy looking around a foreign food market, especially one like this which has so many good things on offer. So many fish, smply displayed and looking so appetising, fresh vegetables and fruit mostly home grown but a few imports (bananas and apples)
Arriving in the "dried fruit department", Mohammed jostled and bantered with the young saleman in a good natured way. He explained that, no, he wasn't a regular at this particular stall, but that by building a bit of a relationship with the seller, a better deal can be secured and the business transaction can be made more enjoyable.
How true! This concept was one which stayed with me and I found myself thinking back to it later. Isn't this something we've lost here, where we buy from anonymous supermarkets where sometimes, I don't even speak to a member of staff (if I use the Quick Check facilty). Isn't this something which makes shopping in a Farmers Market so much more pleasurable? Perhaps our discomfort in haggling in an exotic marketplace results from the loss of these basic social skills, our inability to establish a friendly relationship with the seller before embarking on the process of buying something?
I watched Mohammed in action again at the olive stall, where the seller and he exchanged a few greetings (and tastings) before choosing which olives they'd recommend for me to bring home.
Hmm. So much more to take home from that marketplace than a bag of dates and olives.