I thought of the concept for today’s blog yesterday on the metro: it felt like at every stop vendors were jumping on and off the subway selling all sorts of crap, they were driving me crazy and I was spending too much energy avoiding their gaze. So here’s what I came up with: for a day, every time I’m on the metro (and here I mean literally on the train, not on the platforms, at the entrances, in the stairwells etc) and someone tries to sell me something, I’ll buy it. Mr K recognised the concept for the clear brilliance it is and so, here – after our purchasing frenzy – are the spoils:
Item 1: two peanut bars for 5 peso. There was also some type of grain bar but at this point we introduce sub rule A: only one item per seller if they are selling multiple items.
Item 2: Catchable bubbles. Small bottle of liquid with bubble wand, 5 peso. These bubbles, by the way, are not your garden variety dishwashing liquid – type bubbles. I don’t know what they’re made of but they don’t burst on landing, they sit on your clothes and hair until long afterwards. This I know because to demonstrate their wares, vendors blow these bubbles around the metro carriage, undoubtedly to the dismay of the interview candidates and new-suit types as they leave a grubby white residue when they do eventually burst. We bought these from a young man and later had two more opportunities to purchase this prize item. Enter subrule B: no repeat items should be purchased, even if offered by a different vendor.
Item 2.5 (not purchased): Disk containing movies for your mobile phone in Spanish only, 50 peso. Subrule C: items of over 2 euro (a euro = 17 pesos) in value do not have to be purchased. We were offered this item twice.
Item 3: Lolly with attached plastic whistle in the shape of a frog. Lolly and frog both pink. I got select my own from a large plastic bag. 3 pesos.
Item 4: Pack of 5 chocolate flavoured candy bars, sold by a young man who had apparently lost his voice and so just dropped his wares with a little note with every other passenger or so. 5 pesos.
Item 5: box of ten Pokemon shaped gummy lollies. Bought without properly understanding what they were. 5 pesos.
Item 6: Notebook with 4 assorted pens. We almost missed our stop to buy this one. 10 pesos.
Item 7: lip balm. I selected orange flavoured from a nice little display stand carried by a woman who seemed skeptical as to whether we were actually going to pay for it. 5 pesos. This item was immediately useful.
Item 8: Chewing gum, packaged like condoms. 15 sticks. 5 pesos.
Item 9: Pocket flashlight. Mr K first selected the black but then changed him mind and went for this charming tangerine shade. 5 pesos. Battery included.
Item 10: A salsa CD which apparently contains 156 tracks. 10 peso.
This blog post cost me 4 euro.
Travelling on the cheap takes its toll, you’re constantly saying “no” to things and to people, you pretty much constantly feel cheap, so today felt wonderful. Instead of wishing the vendors would shut up or get off, today we were looking out for them, hoping they’d have something we didn’t yet have. It was liberating to just say “yes” to everything and everyone.
For the millionth time: God Bless the euro. And grant patience to Mexico’s week-day commuters: the vendors must drive them mad.