Tag Archives: market

Spider Hideouts

 

 

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Camped near a beautiful beach in Mexico, we often bought our fruit and vegetables from the produce truck.  One day, I lugged home three big bags of vegetables.

“Coming to the beach?” Gary asked.

“You go ahead. I’ll be down right after I clean these veggies,” I grumbled, slapping at the tiny biting flies. I soon gave up trying to work outside and brought the vegetables into the bug-free trailer to clean them in my little kitchenette.

Done at last! Now for the beach and a cool swim. I hurried outside to bring in my bathing suit from the clothesline we had strung between two coconut palms. I was about to step into it, when I let out a shriek. A brown critter about the size of a wolf spider was waiting for me inside the bathing suit bra.

Anyone passing by must have gawked at the bathing suit flying out the doorway.

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I was late getting to the beach that day, and although the water was refreshing, I couldn’t relax. Other swimmers must have wondered at the woman who kept pulling away the top of her bathing suit to look at her boobs.

That evening, we sat at the kitchen table playing cards and relaxing with an Oso Negro gin and peach juice. I tidied up the last few things before getting into bed.

Gary had just finished brushing his teeth and as he came out of the bathroom he heard me GASP! His eyes followed my arm as I pointed to the corner of the trailer. There, clinging to the ceiling, sat the biggest spider I’d ever seen. The fuzzy dark brown visitor had a body the size of my thumb and could easily straddle a saucer. If I had been a screamer they would have heard me all the way to Mazatlan.

“And I’ve been sitting there playing cards all evening with that thing poised over my head,” I wailed.

I handed Gary the fly swatter. “If it gets away,” I said, shakily, “I’m not sleeping in here tonight and I’ll be on the plane tomorrow.”

“It must have come in with the vegetables,” he said, as he tossed its crumpled body outside.

And where had it been while I sat there cleaning them? I wondered. Hiding in the cauliflower leaves? How close had I come to touching it? Shivers ran down my back.

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The next day we visited an open air market. I admired the handmade wooden cutting boards and picked one up to study the grain. Something ran over my hand. I threw the board into the air and squealed, “Una araña!” The vendor laughed and seemed unperturbed as I pointed to the gigantic spider running in his direction.

I was having serious thoughts of home. But imagine missing all this fun.

Grocery Shopping the Old-fashioned Way

I can only assume that Greece has modern grocery stores like we do in Canada, but all those many years ago, when we camped in Kardamyli, the grocery shopping was limited. The town was small and so was the selection of groceries. A few stores had some boxes of tired vegetables but a welcome sight was the vegetable truck. Notice the metal tub to put the vegetables in on the old-fashioned weigh scales. The man with the cigarette was the owner. He amazed me with the speed at which he switched the weights around on the scales to find the balance and calculated the price of the vegetables I bought.

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Meager pickings though. After a while we craved some good shopping and a little boost to our boring diet. A trip to Kalamata was called for. The famous olive town was only about 31 kilometers from Kardamyli, so off we went with Lazarus the tailor’s family along for the ride. Lazarus, the owner of a handmade clothing shop, had become a good friend to us while we were in Kardamyli that summer. We learned that the Greeks like to do everything together, as a group. They were our tour guides through the markets of Kalamata.

Remember the temperatures were in the 90s Fahrenheit. Fish market first – little or no refrigeration or ice. Quick sales were the order of the day.

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Would you prefer pork, hung out in the warm air? Buy it “quick before it melts.”

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I’m not a fan of mutton, but they serve a lot of it in Greek restaurants. Here in the market you can buy any part of the animals. There’s no extra charge for the flies. The butcher stood guard over the sheep heads, whacking them every couple of minutes with the broad side of his large knife. A swarm of flies would leave the inside of the head when it was whacked , fly around buzzing, “Who did that?” and then, receiving no answer, follow the leader back inside the sheep head.

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But now we come to my favourite section of the market — the vegetables. I wished we had a bigger van so I could buy everything in sight.

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I’m not a vegetarian, but it wouldn’t have been difficult to become one. If you ever go to a Greek market, you won’t need a lot of money, but be sure to bring a very large shopping bag.

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