One of the main reasons we decided to move overseas was to see how other people live and show our daughters that people in other countries do things differently. I am still a little bewildered when it comes to shopping in Chile. Ricky has spoken before about the street vendors changing with the seasons and how some things you simply cannot find anywhere but at the flea market. This is really very strange for an Australian who is used to buying mostly everything from a shopping centre.
This week I was given a mission. Indiana and Truce were to be in a Chile day performance at school and needed a traditional style dress. My mission, should I choose to except it, was to hunt down the costumes for their dances. Should be easy enough I thought. Surely I’ll find what I need with the street vendors. They haven’t let me down yet. Sometimes I have to walk the entire length of the city to find what I need but it’s always there, somewhere.
Indiana needed a calipso skirt and bandana. Truce needed the same in black. The black costume was easy, half of the Chilean niñas needed black so I every second store was selling them. Calipso on the other hand was a different story. My first question was, what colour is calipso? I soon discovered that it was a Chilean word for brilliant blue. During my hunt a few stall holders told me of a magical store near Parque Italia where I would find every colour skirt I could imagine. I finally found this mythical place only to be told that in Valparaíso this year they were making only red, black and yellow skirts. Right, now where on earth do I find a brilliant blue skirt and bandana? Being the optimist that I am, I walked home a different route and continued popping into every shop selling Chile day costumes. I stepped into one particular shop and told them I was having trouble fulfilling my quest when two lovely old ladies told me that I had to make it myself and that there was a fabric shop across the road.
I’m fairly handy and I have an emergency sewing kit so I decided that they were probably right and that I should bite the bullet and go buy the material. 20 minutes later, I paid the equivalent of $1.20 for a metre. “Algo mas?” the attendant asked me (anything else) I replied that I needed cotton of the same colour and she shook her head, you have to buy that two shops down, we don’t sell cotton. Another 20 minutes later and I had my cotton. After two days and with very sore fingers from using very blunt needles my mission was complete. Indiana went to school today looking like every other girl in her class whose mothers also either had sore fingers or a sewing machine.