Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Najlon Pijaca

On Saturday morning, Dominique and I woke up early. We met up at Futoška Pijaca at 6 AM (šest sati ujutro, na srpskom) and grabbed a bus to Najlon (Nylon) Pijaca, a flea market.

A few of our classmates from our Serbian lessons had gone a couple weeks ago, and they came back with a tuba. Dominique and I didn't intend to join their brass ensemble, but we were curious to see what we could find.

After consulting one of my coworkers, we found out that we were supposed to go very early, but we still showed up before most of the stalls even opened. We wandered around and into a small smoky café, where I grabbed a coffee, more to heat my hands than to wake me up.

After waiting a bit longer, we walked around all of the stalls. Apparently on Saturdays, Najlon focuses more on clothes. But there were plenty of other interesting things there. If you can imagine it, it was at Najlon. Even packaged candy and detergents-- I have no idea how the vendors got those.

I was mostly looking around, but I had one or two vague goals. One, I was always looking for interesting books. Two, my friend Seth's father asked for a Yugoslav/Serbian police or army badge. Dominique was looking around at old cameras.

I found a book of anti-NATO graffiti collected from Belgrade during the bombing. The price I was offered was 100 dinars. I countered with 50 and the vendor immediately accepted-- I could have gone even lower. Clearly, the surcharge for being a foreigner is more than 100%. Still, I don't regret my purchase or spending a few cents extra on it.

Dominique found lots of old cameras, but decided against buying any.

Future Pulitzer winner.
Showing off the special features
I tried to haggle down the price of a Serbian Army pin that I found, but it didn't work. "They [other vendors] sell for 500," the man said in simple Serbian, hoping that I'd understand. I didn't believe him until I found the exact same pin for 500 dinars elsewhere in the market, just as he said. Three hundred dinars later, I was the proud owner of a slightly-broken, possibly replica* Serbian Army pin.

The man had more pins than he had room for.
*Both this vendor and the 500-dinar vendor assured me that theirs were authentic, and each pointed to different signs of their authenticity. The 300-dinar vendor also had one that was clearly a replica to show for comparison.

Seth, forward this picture to your dad.

Declaring ourselves successful, we rode the bus home and napped. I napped on and off for the rest of the day, while Dominique went out later for another round of shopping, this time at proper stores.

A little bit tired, but proud of my finds.

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