Or A Lesson Learned During A Walk To the Bazaar…
While we were in Russia we often walked everywhere. We walked miles daily. It was the norm. Only occasionally did we hitch a ride or take a trolley and only then if we were in a hurry. But the pace over there is different, more relaxed. So everyone walks. I really enjoyed it.
Food shopping was very different as well. There were no supermarkets, at least not when I was there. For bread, you went to the bakery. You went to the butcher for meat, the fishmonger for fish, and so on. Most other things you could get at the bazaar. A relative, R, offered to take us to the bazaar for shopping so we could see it. I was very excited to go. D tagged along, for a lack of anything better to do.
We set off and it was quite a long walk away. But we were in no hurry so we strolled leisurely. We even stopped for ice cream at one point. After walking a bit more, I noticed a faint smell. I asked R and D if they smelled anything but neither did. I wasn’t surprised. My nose has always been particularly sensitive. A lovely side effect of my fibromyalgia, I suppose. All of my senses are more intense. I shrugged it off and kept walking.
Only the further we walked, the stronger the smell seemed to become. And R and D still weren’t smelling it. They thought I was crazy and I was sure they were nose blind. It smelled like an overripe dumpster in midsummer and the smell only got stronger the more we walked. Soon I was gagging and had to stop breathing through my nose. That was when D finally smelled it. The wind blew a certain way and he cringed, “What the hell is that smell?” Finally!
He asked if that’s what I’d been smelling for miles and I nodded, eyes tearing. He couldn’t believe it. Then R looked like a lightbulb had gone off over her head. “Oh! The sausage factory,” she said, nodding. She told us there was a sausage factory about three miles down the road and that’s where the smell was coming from. I asked how could it smell so bad and she told me that safety standards weren’t exactly a thing there. Good meat, bad meat….it all went in. And the machinery probably didn’t get cleaned either. D and I were properly horrified by this but we continued to the bazaar.
The bazaar was pretty amazing. The fruits and vegetables were perfect. So ripe and flavorful. We bought raspberries to eat on the way home, as soon as we got out of the funk zone. There were so many spices piled up on tables, I couldn’t even name them all. There was so much to see. It was all so overwhelming. We shopped and went back home, munching on our raspberries, fingers stained with juice. The sausage factory all forgotten.
The very next day we were invited to lunch at someone’s house. I didn’t know him. I believe he was a friend of my father’s, possibly. I didn’t much want to go but my father insisted, “They slaughtered a lamb to welcome us.” I told him how I hated that antiquated custom and how I didn’t even eat red meat anyway so there was no point in my going but that didn’t fly. D and I were dragged along to the lunch where we were served….sausages.
I tried really hard not to giggle. I had my father apologize to the man for me and tell him how I didn’t eat meat. The man, of course, understood. I grinned evilly at D. I wanted to see how he would get out of this one. He looked really green. Seriously, he did. I wasn’t sure if he was going to pass out or throw up. My father kept shooting him dirty looks all lunch and I had to keep digging my nails into my palms to keep from laughing.
When we finally left, my father looked like he was going to kill someone. He asked D what his problem was. I told him about the sausage factory and the smell and grossness. He shook his head at us and sighed, “He made those himself you idiots.” Oops!