We were given a tour of Mancheya market in Alexandria. It was arranged and led by the headmaster of the school where Richard works and his wife. I've been told you need a guide for your first time to the market, and I'm glad I had one. It's all a bit of a blur. There were sight and sounds all around us. And people! So many people. My mind mushed the colours, textures, patterns and sounds together and catalogued it as "chaos" so that I could absorb without processing. My head moved in bird-like motions as my eyes darted from sight to sight, trying to take everything in. I managed very few photos, but I will be back, for sure!
"We have no sofa," the woman at the consignment store chastises, "I can fit five other things for the space of one sofa."
"What else you want. Where your list," she says. "You should have list."
Apologizing that our list is in the car, we say we want a TV stand. We are shown some wobbly banged up pieces of furniture for some very exorbitant prices. We say we will look around. Several pieces seem like they cost more than they do new. One small plastic drawer unit has a price tag of $45.
The woman eyes us as we edge towards the door. “Thank you!” we call out as we try to resist running out the door.
This was just one of our miserable experiences today. Among the other miserable experiences were filling out forms for getting tenant insurance and not knowing the answers to half the questions, being refused tenant insurance, getting kicked out of a pub and grill at lunch for having a kid with us, not getting a table at another lunch spot, filling out more forms to get a health card, trying to find the Mount Lorne dump and free store*, not being able to figure out how to get a cart at the grocery store, and being in line at the grocery store for 30 minutes while the people in front of me check out enough food for a whole village (including 15 cucumbers).
All in all, not a great day. It was one of those days where I have this “what have I done?” sinking sensations in the pit of my stomach. Our savings is dwindling, no word yet on a job and sadly missing the Collingwood Re-Store. Or any reasonably priced furniture (kijiji was no better.) The best part was getting home and cracking open a Yukon Gold.
A couple of beers and a nice home cooked meal later I was feeling a little better. A nice cup of tea, some Christmas chocolate after that and things don’t look so bad at all. Yes, we’re watching TV on the iPad in bed because we don’t have a stitch of living room furniture, but it’s kind of cosy.
Tomorrow, to find the location of the free store!
* The free store is where people drop off their re-useable items including furniture and other people pick up these very same items. It seems like a magical place, too good to be true. The story of the free store is told in magazines and vaguely referenced by landlords but it’s location is hidden to strangers by snow-covered signs and an absence of information online. It is revealed only to locals who have discovered the knowledge from other locals. Dude, where is the welcome wagon when you need it!