Sunday, November 15, 2009

Getting to know the local ways ... 10/05/09

Yesterday we got lamps from the Argentinian lady married to the man who has the Ethnic Store with her. She was full of stories about her mixed lineage and the life in Buenos Aires and her return there in a few weeks and all the while her long hair falling over her eyes knowing she is attractive and using that to sell her products. But I like her she is intelligent, and calm (not like the locals) and she joked about that too. She let us change the lamps later when we discovered much to our chagrin that they gave a very lunar cold light and not pleasant to be in. We are putting them on the ceiling, one like a sail and the other the same shape but brownish made from banana leaves, very pretty and suit the Spanish corner corner.

We had fun at the capo (beautiful headland) when we ordered gelato at the bar. I had paid for two small cones, (due coni piccoli) at the cashier. There were loads of short oversized families and couples pressed up against the counter choosing ther version of chocolate icecream in loud voices – bacio or giandiuia or chocolate and coffee or what … and my Irish friend was getting a headache with their shouting but she hadn’t seen anything until it was our turn. The man said two mezzo gelati and didn’t understand what we were saying about the coni piccoli so I showed him the scontrino but he kept saying no no they are mezzo, ie. half size and I didn’t get it and he said let’s go down to the cash desk and you can pay a bit more and get your gelato and I said no but we have already paid for the two cones. I did’t get the whole mezzo thing, 'Will the cone be cut in half?' I enquired eventually. The man was kind of laughing but very insistent and repetitive, but the problem was his explanations were not helpful until the locals started joining in with great amusement – it is the QUANTITY that will be smaller. I was used to asking for PICCOLO in Tuscany cos usually that was abundant enough. Anyway, the mezzo, or half a cone, must be the same thing. I requested a pistachio one for my friend and the man started insisting in the loud voice again no but you can have two flavours even so! And I had to INSIST that she really only wanted one!! Incomprehensible to the locals who want the biggest range possible for the lowest price possible. When we left she said oh my god I can see now why you get stressed.

These people get so hyped up so easily over nothing. When my appointment at the beauty salon was delayed by half an hour they'd said a 5min delay) I said, look I called yesterday why did you offer me the choice of 10.30 11.30 or 12.30 if you were going to keep me waiting for 30 minutes anyway(I have so many million things to do!) The owner got all overexcited and angry and wounded and knowing she was in the wrong tried to make out I was the offensive party and went off lamenting to her colleague who then fired me dirty looks when it was my turn. Luckily I was seen to by the angelic Cristina who was calm and doe eyed and like a simpler purer version of Penelope Cruz. My husband had some good phrase for it, the making you feel like you are in the wrong knowing full well that it is your fault. Thorny grumpy flighty people. The Tuscans are much more gentle and wellmannered and all prego and scusi and letting you pass and holding doors for you. Here the people would walk over you and drive over you to get to where they are going! I am hoping underneath there is a heart of gold …


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