Today I went to Preveza town to do a bit of shopping. As Tim is getting our yacht Fandancer ready to leave in the boatyard for the winter, I thought I would escape the mayhem and mess and catch the minibus to Preveza, for a bit of peace and quiet.I have always liked Preveza town – it’s changed a lot over the years. It’s now a thriving, busy town, which attracts local people as well as boating folk. The quay is popular with yachtsmen, and the marina is being improved. There are many shops and businesses here – you could probably get hold of whatever you needed.
Today I needed some fruit and vegetables, and something for our supper on board Fandancer. I found the greengrocers which I have been to many times before, who is always well stocked and reasonably priced. After I had chosen my fruit and vegetables, I took them inside the shop to get weighed and priced.
I asked the girl behind the counter if she had any mushrooms. She looked blank and didn’t understand English, so I took a deep breath, and practiced my very best Greek – “exhete manitaria?” which roughly translated as “are there any mushrooms?
She still looked fairly vacant, she said nothing, but gave me a slight nod of the head. Great, I thought, so I asked her if I could have some of her fine mushrooms. She stared at me, and again, gave me a slight nod of the head, almost as if she had a twitch. I paused, and waited for her to produce some of my favourite fungi. “Where are they?” I asked her, thinking maybe she couldn’t leave the counter. She nodded again. I then finally twigged that in Greece, a nod of the head means no! She didn’t have any manitaria! Oops! I did feel a bit silly, so I paid for my stuff and made a quick exit.
Then I went to the big supermarket – well, big by Greek standards, but not if you are used to a Tesco Superstore in the UK. This particular Greek emporium has at least three floors. So if you want some washing powder, or dog food, you have to climb three flights of stairs. I’ve never seen a lift! No chance if you have a shopping trolley, a kid in a pushchair, or just a heavy basket! You could leave your basket at the bottom of the stairs though, as most people do. Maybe they leave their kids in pushchairs too.
Luckily, the butchery and cheese counter are on the ground floor. I wanted to buy half a kilo of pork fillet, and some chicken breasts.
“Meso kilo choirino filet, parakalo”..… eventually after five minutes, the lady behind the counter, who spoke some English, but was engrossed with filling in some forms, picked up a piece of meat which did indeed look like pork fillet, and proceeded to weigh it and wrap it up. I could see that it was a very small piece, and wouldn’t have weighed anywhere near 500g. I questioned whether it was indeed half a kilo. “No, that’s all there is” she said. But it’s not enough, I told her. She shrugged, and gave it to me anyway, then returned to filling in her paperwork.. It weighed 240g. I had to spend another five minutes attracting her attention again, and asked her for a small piece of some more pork, of a different cut…….
……..is it just me, or does this all seem slightly bizarre? That’s Greece for you!