Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Mini Maxi not-so-super market chain in Belgrade

The greatest mystery about Belgrade encountered so far is where the Belgradians obtain their victuals. I walk for an hour on what seems a respectful shopping avenue and main traffic artery, but the larger the shop the least likely it sells something essential.

There are bakeries and butchers, restaurants of all fortes, but what I discovered yesterday is that even the acquisition of the most fundamental necessities requires a great deal of discourse. I’d say about half the people I’ve tried to deal with so far were completely fluent in English, while the other half managed to utter at least some profanities in English, but when I enter a store to buy veggies and the likes, people obviously start to talk to me in Serbian, and I have to confess that I have no idea what they’re talking about, and the least show of helplessness invariably brings out the cannibal in most of us.

It goes without saying that I’m the guest here, and I should adapt, but I’m inadequate and that won’t go away in two days. Before I engage anyone, I’d like to learn some Serbian greetings, and perhaps a simple apology for not speaking Serbian and kind request for permission to speak English.

The rumor has it that there’s a grandiose supermarket somewhere within breathing range of my apartment, and I’ve circled the circumference of the building a few times, but so far I’ve failed to locate the establishment. Maybe I should radiate out a little further.

I end up in one of the ubiquitous mini-Maxi‘s, which defers the hope of there being a maxi-Maxi. Mini-Maxi’s are the size of a local gas station and offer a modest range of cookies and laundry detergent. No fresh fruit or veggies on any of the premises. I don’t mind experiencing the local leanings but I was hoping for a trolley filled with gleaming loot, not to be glared at as the 2 O’ clock customer.

PS: a few days later I locate the Maxi-Maxi, about two blocks away from my apartment in that one street that I didn't check out...

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