My then-husband Rob, our toddler Kathy and I had travelled to Greece in 1971 for a stay of several months. It was a working vacation. Well, the working was my husband’s lot; the vacation was mostly mine and Kathy’s.
On a rare day off, he set out with Kathy and me to visit the huge flea market in the area known as Monastiraki in Athens. We were living about nine miles outside of the city, so this was a bus trip and then a lot of walking.
We bought a few nifty purchases that day: he found a great little red guitar, and I bought a dress, a boho-style woolen handbag and a few small souvenirs. At some point little Kathy got tired, so Rob picked her up and held her while we walked.
And then we spotted it. The stroller. It seemed to beckon us, calling out, in our joint imagination – buuuyyyy meeeeee….
So we asked the proprietor of the stall how much he wanted for the stroller.
He spoke some English. Well, not really: he spoke money. Thinking we didn’t know a drachma from a dollar, he said, “Three dollars,” and held up three fingers.
At the time, it seemed like a lot. We had a lot of expenses. The stroller was old, rather beat up and plain. We wanted it, but we didn’t want to shell out $3.00.
“One dollar,” countered Rob, holding up one finger for emphasis.
The seller looked miffed, insulted. He looked around as if to say, “Can you believe this cheap tourist?” Finally he spat, “Two dollars.”
We shook our heads gravely. “One dollar,” repeated Rob.
“Ochi!” Tsk. No way, José! He folded his arms with finality.
Gosh darn, we shook our heads, what a shame, too bad. We turned to leave and meandered off.
We actually got as far as about five or six stalls down the alleyway. Suddenly we heard behind us,
“Signomi! Signomi! Adaksi!” Excuse me, okay!
Apparently he realized that one dollar was better than no dollar. We paid him.
Kathy fit in the stroller perfectly and grinned in delight.
It was a real “steal.”