Monday, July 18, 2005

Bìo Bìo

Yesterday an old man in the street offered to sell me a katana sword.

This meant i could only be in Bìo Bìo, one of the world's most amazing flea markets. It occurs every sunday in the Franklin area of santiago, and the things you can find, see or eat there are impossible to enumerate. Among the things i saw for sale, on exposition or walking about yesterday were antique stoves, "ger-man" brand tools, a litfiba cd, an assortment of nintendos, 1930s german currency (i.e. fünf millionen mark), a cosplayer, saxophones made out of bamboo sticks, authentic horse saddles, spurs and leather whips, puppies and a life-sized cardboard cutout of Raffaella Carrà.

For the record, Pablo Neruda once found the masthead of a seventeenth century french armada ship here, which he purchased for close to nothing and is now exposed in the poet's Isla Negra historical home/museum.

The prices are of course often quite good, arbitrarily chosen and obligatorily negotiable. For example, my parents purchased what to an early identification seems to be a 1920s-built mandolin for 30.000 pesos, roughly around 42-43 euros. Original cds, often still factory sealed (which is what i tend to hunt for when in the neighbourhood) go for something between 3000 and 5000.

I also saw some nice cd/mp3 players. "New" cd players usually go for around 10.000 pesos, so i asked the salesman for prices. In these cases, my tactic is to fake interest for a similar object, and then pretend to be resorting to the one i actually wanted as a slight disappointment, so the theatrical discussions involved usually bring the price down a bit. This time, it was not the case:
Me(pointing at newish-looking cd player): "how much for that?"
Salesman: "30 thousand."
Me(pointing at visibly older and scraggier-looking cd player): "and for that one?"
Salesman: "40 thousand."
Me(finally pointing at the mp3/cd player i was originally interested in): "what about that one?"
Salesman: "I don't want to have business with you. Go away."
Me: "Ok." (Exits)

Was fun.