08 July 2008

The rummage sale

This very unglamorous scene is my idea of great fun. It’s the weekly rummage sale of secondhand clothes and household linens at the mercato on Lido. Every Tuesday morning the truck brings in a fresh load of goodies. When the piles thin out, the ladies root around in their boxes and bring out a few more armloads of stuff. Almost anything here can be snatched up for a mere two euros (lined wool blazers and winter coats go for three to five euros). Occasionally the deal is even better – any two items for three euros.

I like to elbow my way in among the other bargain-hunters and see what I can dig up. Sometimes it can be quite a tussle – these Venetian dames don’t mess around when they’re shopping. You have to have a good eye and quick reflexes. There’s no try-on room or mirror, so your choices must be wiggled on over whatever you’re wearing, and you have to trust your fellow shoppers to tell you ‘si, bella’ or ‘no, no.’ More often than not I walk away empty-handed. But today – che buona fortuna! – I got myself a new linen sheath dress for under three bucks!

So far I’ve purchased that dress, a Levis jean skirt, four miniskirts (three of them lined!), a Swiss cotton/wool knitted chemise, a pearl-encrusted lace bustier, some hand-embroidered fabrics for making sachets, and a pair of mosquito net curtains for my apartment, all for less than twenty euros. See? Great fun!