Wednesday, 12 December, 2018
So – there is a rat that visits the house. Big body, big tail, and partial to all things in the rubbish bin! And rats are likely in most places, since there is a lot of waste lying around.
Today has also seen the completion of the “buying gifts for Christmas” project. So much choice, mostly beautifully crafted, for relatively low prices. This beats the Euro Christmas markets, for range, quality and customer service.
No one is hassling for money; there is, amazingly, no begging. I’ve not yet been approached to provide money. But I am constantly approached to be included in a selfie: why? Walking through the streets, whenever someone passes by – on foot, tuk tuk or motor bike, they stop to start a conversation: “hello! How are you? What is your name? Take a photo?”.
And it is impossible to browse a shop window. Often the shop is deserted, but almost instantly someone will come running – literally running – to engage in conversation and invite me into the shop. There is so much competition, no one wants to miss the opportunity of a sale. So it is impossible to quietly browse. “Please, please”; “look here, very nice”; “yes, please”; “yes, very cheap”. And if I do buy, I’m always asked: “one? You’d like another one?”, and “we have many other fine things, look”. Always, always with a smile, and so courteous. And you can’t stop to just watch: stopping – wherever it is – implies an interest, and an opportunity to sell. In the city, on the street, you are never, never alone. It’s as if I’m a visiting rock star or celebrity – attended to, but never manhandled, never mobbed, completely safe.