As of this morning, the weather forecast predicted rain for three days. As of tonight, it was correct. So, what to do on a rainy Tuesday in Mestre? Shop for food of course! Here is a recap of my day, at least the important parts.
1. Seek emergency medical care for my favorite casual shoes.
I thought these shoes were built to last so I was horrified when yesterday, in Verona, I discovered a slit (like something had sliced into the suede) just above the seam above the toe. I was afraid of ruining them further, so I had no other choice but to buy a new pair of boots. First stop today, talented cobbler. If he can’t fix Italian suede shoes, then they can’t be fixed at all.
2. Next, bakery.
Today I went shopping for the household’s food. I had been planning to cook tonight’s dinner already and to make things easier I also picked up supplies for today’s lunch. First stop on the food parade — bread. There is a very nice bakery around the corner; every time I have visited it it has been packed. As with many food shops here, there is a ticket system — you walk in, take a number, and wait to be called in numerical order. I have been told that the introduction of the ticket system has benefited shoppers enormously, because Italians have no respect for the concept of a queue and will just push ahead to the front, regardless of the order in which they entered. I got a variety of bread rolls for lunch and dinner.
3. Third stop, green grocer.
I cooked roast vegetables and branzino for dinner so I needed to pick up some butternut pumpkin, capsicum, and potatoes (already had tomatoes and carrots at home). This particular green grocer is organic and many of the produce sold is grown on the owner’s own farm. I think I mentioned previously that there is a local, organic food movement here.
4. Next stop, butcher/dairy (the shop sells meat, cheese, homemade pasta, and a variety of other goodies) for ravioli. I chose pumpkin filled ravioli and mushroom/asiago filled ravioli.
5. Final stop on the food parade — fish market.
There is a daily fish market that sits within the town center. If you know the right stalls to visit, the fish is fresh off the boat. I ordered two whole branzinos (a fish of northern Italy and one of my favorites) and had the fish monger clean and filet them for me. The order of things was kind of odd. First the fish monger weighed the fish and calculated the price. Then he cleaned it and wrapped it messily in paper and a plastic bag. Nothing was neat or clean about this; both the paper and the plastic smelled of fish and had fish on them when they were handed to me. THEN (why didn’t this happen when the price was calculated and BEFORE the fish was cleaned), the monger printed and handed me the receipt with his fishy hands (remember, he had just cleaned the fish). I paid for my fish, but when the monger handed me back my change with slimy, bloody, fishy hands, I was more tempted than ever before to tell him to keep the change! I then proceeded to drop a few cents in the ground, which I didn’t dare pick up.
6. Next activity — an hour long run in the rain in anticipation of lunch.
7. Prepare lunch.
8. Watch the film Bridesmaids.
9. Prepare dinner.
10. And, finally, write this blog post.
By the way, I have a new strategy for shopping. Before attempting to order anything, I say “lo non parlo Italiano” (“I do not speak Italian”). For some reason, people seem to like that and they become much more friendly and helpful than when I just try to wing it. They even seem excited to help. Maybe my ignorance is endearing.
Anyhow, that’s all for now from this side of the Atlantic. Until tomorrow, goodnight and good luck.