I think there is a market God that shines down on me. Every time I want to go to an outdoor market he/she provides perfect dappled light (my favourite kind) mid range temperatures and holds off on any rain or wind until further notice. This God wants me to enjoy the markets in all of its colourful, eclectic glory. In every aspect! Except, that is, for the buying part.
I am travelling on a budget and no matter how much I check, the bank will not credit me any money I did not earn and food is consistently coming up trumps to trinkets. Not wanting to miss out on anything though, I attend the markets. I take in the scent of the food prepared on the street ( probably best I avoid that anyway). I try on things that I pretend I might buy and then allow my Spanish to fail right at the purchasing point, I watch the crazy bands and street performers and leave before the hat goes around at the end. And in a cruel punishment for my friends and a display of the ‘it’s the thought that counts’ motto, I take photos of products they might like and send the ‘thought’ to them via email. You’re welcome Friends!
Window shopping as I’ve referred to it does not strictly involve any windows but I like it and I’m bloody good at it!
So good in fact that it has extended to my Facebook life; in a process I like to refer to as ‘Friendship window shopping’. As a traveller I spend a lot of time making new but temporary Friends. We skip the getting to know you part and go straight to super tight. I hang out with them day in and day out, sometimes literally sleeping in the same place and thus being under the roommates banner. Then? Then…we go to different cities and potentially never speak to each other ever again.
Sometimes this is a cruel punishment e.g ‘ I really like that person, dammit dammit dammit!’ However, at other times it is a breath of fresh air e.g ‘Thank Fuck, there was only so many more times I could explain that Asia is not a country’. It’s an interesting way to get to know people because you don’t ever know them well enough to pick up on their annoying habits and either decide to cut them loose or love them anyway.
This is where my likening to window shopping begins. Window shopping for me is essentially, ‘checking stuff out with the knowledge it will never be yours’. So when I Facebook friend these people who I have known for mere moments, the newsfeed serves as a smorgasbord of musings from those folks who live far enough away that I will never actually be their friend. I shop and take home nothing in my bag as I return to my abode for a cheap home cooked meal; likely pasta based.
I wish I had enough money to buy the chick I met a morning before she left my hostel when we went on a rogue pancake making mission. Whose Facebook posts then included a happy political lean to the left and an appreciation of cool live music. I also would gladly save up for the Aussie who made me feel at home and had a distinct little brother feel about him, whose Facebook posts are close to non-existent but that says something in itself.
On the other hand, I feel glad I didn’t make an impulse buy of the boy who I initially thought was friendly but went on to insist the reason I agreed with Obamacare was because I ‘needed to get laid’ and who now clogs my news feed with selfies and instafood photos.
In the same way I still go to the markets, I have decide to still go out there in the world and make Friends with these people. Knowing they will not be ‘coming home with me’ ( wink wink). I listen to their stories about how school works in Switzerland or how old you must be to drink in Germany, what you should check out if you ever go to Canada and how many shots it takes to get pretty much any nationality drunk. I am less likely to be afraid of difference if I embrace it. I am better for those sunny days at the markets.
I’m getting used to the idea of window shopping, I know I’m going home mostly empty handed, though I’m sure I’ll be able to find room in my suitcase for some special purchases!
Not to worry either way, my closet at home is pretty damn full.