Monday, 23 February 2009

Flea Market Update

I heard that this flea market wasn't the best, but I wanted to check it out anyway. I love looking at old stuff, even if it's crapola. There's another flea market in the city that's supposedly better, but it's only open from spring to fall, and I can understand why. It was really cold and the ground was frozen. For real, frozen. See the ground in the picture above under that groovy buggy? Well, sitting on top of the gravel you can see a layer of ice. Our feet felt like ice blocks just after about an hour. I can only imagine how the vendors felt. This flea market had a garage sale vibe along with a "stuff that fell off a truck" vibe (one vendor had a bunch of new TVs wrapped in saran wrap).

I didn't take many pictures because I got nervous again. I felt like I was getting the evil eye for pulling out my camera (probably my imagination). I have to get my picture-taking confidence back! The language barrier is the hardest thing. I'm afraid of even asking, "kann ich ein bild für mein blog?" which is, I guess, what I should say? One vendor had amazing scarves, TONS of them. I was in scarf heaven looking at them. I wanted to take a picture of them and also wanted to know how much they were. I asked him how much they were but couldn't understand if he said 4 Swiss francs or 14. I asked, "sprechen sie English" and he got all pissy--he grumbled, "English! blah, blah (something I couldn't understand), English!" He was obviously irritated that I asked if he could (or would?) speak English. So he marked out with his finger on the table how much, and it looked like he was writing 24 Swiss francs. Crap. I wasn't sure--4, 14, 24, and I knew I made him mad, so I moved on. No picture of scarves; no scarves brought home. I'm going to bring my translation book with me next time. Maybe then I'll get more pictures and a scarf or two.

PS. I'm not the type of jerky person who expects everyone to speak English to me in other countries. I think you should always make an effort to speak the language (or one of the languages, in the case of Switzerland) of the country you're in. Even if it's just "hello" and "thank you." I sound like an ass trying to speak any language other than English, but when you're in another country, I think you have to try. When we were in Paris some women were at the train station ticket counter in front of us and just started speaking English to the woman at the information desk. They didn't say, "bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?" (hello, do you speak English?). No, they just started talking to the woman in English. I assume they were Americans, though I guess it's possible they were Canadian. The woman spoke English back to them, but it was obvious she wasn't too happy about it. I thought it was so rude. I don't want to be like them. Today I made some notes of things I've been wanting to say that go a little beyond the basics. Google translate is great for that. Did you know you can use it to translate entire web pages? It's a great travel tool.

1 comment:

Swiss Miss said...

The language thing is tricky in Switzerland, especially in the German-speaking parts since you need both high German and Swiss German to have full comprehension of everything! So don't feel bad.