Thursday 4 August 2011

To market

As in many towns in Europe, the market is by far the most interesting place in Valjevo. When approaching by foot, one sees a gradual transition between random artifacts discarded on the street and those for sale on the outskirts of the marketplace. Shoes, bras, haggard stuffed animals, patriotic boutoniers, old records and VHS porn lie in rows to asking to be rooted through. There are no prices posted, and at least for our group of five, whenever the price was asked, the item was offered as a gift and money was refused. Therein shows the real reason people come to the market, buyers and sellers alike - to hang out, share news, and in our case, break dance.

This scene at the market was the first of it's kind in Serbia, but it has repeated over and over again since I've been here. What seems to be a serene and generally disinterested public vibe is transformed by a groundswell of energy. Within seconds a crowd materializes- performers, audience, and hecklers in full bloom. When the subject of the drama dissolves, so do the crowd, jeering, and focused attention. I wish I had more of the breakdance video but I was caught up in the 30-second build-up to what little I captured.

This is the shop in which Branca, our gracious hostess, sells dresses and the occaisional zip-off men's trouser, which she tried to convince me looked great, regardless of the size 38 tag. She is an amazing woman- cooking, cleaning, laundering, and caring for 8 people, always gracious and ready to laugh. Most of the morning she sports the end of a cucumber on her forehead, her individual cooling system and self-described "Gypsy magnet," which she was happy to see worked on me as well.

Some lonely abandoned stuffed animals. I was waiting for them to start animating themselves a la Jan Svenkmayer.

Who needs a truck?

No longer at the market, but in downtown Valjevo. Dusan buying popcorn, a popular and apt treat for watching the other people watching you on the promenade. Maybe it was the element of surprise, but this was freaking good popcorn.

No comments: