Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The fruit stalls

I love the fruit stalls in Poland! Did I just use the words "love" and "Poland" in the same breath?

I was walking this morning and passed idly through one of the markets. The people who run these markets are amazing. They arrive every morning around 6 or 7 and set up shop. Every day. They lug in crates and crates of oranges, bananas, grapes, lemons, plums, and (when the season is right) fresh strawberries.

Approching one of them can be a bit of a trick for the uninitiated. The people that work behind the stalls are not delicate people. Their hands are calloused. Their voices are calloused, too. They'll give you a terse greeting and wait for you to tell them what you want. If you're not sure, they'll move on to the next customer.

Usually, I just find the fruits that I want and hand them over. They're weighed and a price is quoted. A fair price. Quite cheap. Much cheaper than comparable fresh fruits in the US.

You're less lucky if you want something that only the shopkeeper can reach. Then it becomes a negotiation.

Me: I'd like some tangerines.
Her: How many?
Me: Well, I'm not sure. How about 2 zl worth? (Not even knowing how much that'll be)
Her: Prosze (she then grabs about 15 tangerines and weighs them out.
Her: That'll be 2.50.
Me: ??
Her: 2.50
Me: Well, it could be worse. (Hands over the money)

Really, it's worth it. The fruit is killer and you can shop for bootleg DVD's, new clothes, and flowers at the same time.


At 4/05/2006 04:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, but if Duck #1 gets his way, these fruit peddlers (and sellers of pirate CDs and other sundry Knick-Knacks) will be required to have cash registers. Just to report each penny to the "IRS." See how long the good, cheap fresh fruit will be available then.

At 4/12/2006 02:54:00 PM, Blogger Warsaw Crow said...

You didn't mention the homemade Polish honey! 20zl for a huge jar of unadulterated yumminess.

Taste it before the Duck puts his big beak in and spoils it all!


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