Maybe Mike

Since Colin was sick yesterday, we didn’t venture out as a family. I did take a little trip into the local grocery store, where I had intended to buy papayas, bread and cheese for our lunch. Instead, I got ramen noodles, cookies, juice, eggs, cheese, bread, marmalade and beer. I stayed away from the black cloud of fruit flies that hovered over the produce department and stuck with packaged foods.

This precious little thing had a basket of beaded jewelry to sell, while wandering around on the docks and leaning precariously into boats.

This precious little thing had a basket of beaded jewelry to sell, while wandering around on the docks and leaning precariously into boats.

Our first instinct was to engage in polite conversation, agreeing that the merchandise is lovely, the highest quality, yes, but we’re not interested now. Maybe later.

Maybe.

Unless you’re moving, the mob doesn’t actually disburse. On our trip to Santiago at one point, we were sitting in the shade, enjoying drinks when about ten women and children descended upon us, with “best price, highest quality for you,” draping scarves and jewelry across our arms. After insisting vehemently that we weren’t interested for about ten minutes, we were able to get them to leave. Three minutes passed before they all came back and we went through the same routine again. Then another person joined our party and the game was on again: the mob descended, we insisted we didn’t want anything, the mob left, then gathered around us again.

Maybe Mike finds that Caterina is hard to turn down

Maybe Mike finds that Caterina is hard to turn down

Some are great sales people, like Catarina and her sister Nicole. They sidled up to Mike and asked him if he’d like to buy. He smiled politely and said “maybe later.” Two or three more times during the day, they found him. “You buy now, Maybe Mike? You said later and later is now. You promised to buy from me, Maybe Mike, you promised.” Of course, we did end up buying some lovely scarves from both ladies.

Today, we’re venturing out again, and trying a new strategy: No eye contact, no “maybes,” just polite “no, gracias,” and

At one point in Santiago, we wandered by accident into a market area that was clearly for locals, rather than tourists. We were left completely, and gloriously, alone.

At one point in Santiago, we wandered by accident into a market area that was clearly for locals, rather than tourists. We were left completely, and gloriously, alone.

Maybe.