Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 32- Fishy Business


We watch the two Chinese street peddlers trying to sell plastic Taiwanese tat to the Greek fishermen down at the fish market. We have stumbled across the negotiations as we walk along the waterfront.

The peddlers are laden down with brightly-coloured stuffed parrots, plastic animals, wall clocks, scissors, knives, and a collection of lightweight tools. The scene reminds us of a mobile version of Glasgow’s Pound Shop, minus the Neds.

A couple of heavyset, grisly-looking bearded fishermen in stained dungarees are interested enough to break from their group conversation and look at the goods. Excitedly, the traders try to punt the tools, but the fishermen are not interested. They then try the knives and scissors but again to no avail.

As a last minute effort to make a few euros, the sellers pull out a rainbow-coloured plastic fish, flick a switch, and the fish comes to life flapping about in time to a jolly carnival tune. The fishermen smile and make deep rumbling sounds of appreciation. Encouraged by this, the peddlers continue.

Next on display: a small plastic bird that tweets and flaps when turned on; a tiny green truck with a remote control, and finally a hot-pink plastic cylindrical object with spikes at one end and flashing lights. We can’t make out exactly what it is but we are certain that Ann Summers would want it included in their winter catalogue.

Clearly impressed, the fishermen settle on two plastic musical fish and the unidentified pink wonder. They haggle the price down from sixteen to ten euros and walk back to their comrades clearly pleased with their purchases.

Now that’s the art of sales: selling fake fish to real fishmongers.

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