Timing is everything “fantastic”
I mentioned yesterday about going to look for a fan for the lounge (well lounge, hall, kitchen & dining room they are all the same space) well I got one but it was touch and go for a while.
I decided given I have time on my hands and the car has aircon that I would do a trawl of the shopping mall as it gives me more options. There are a couple of electrical retailers a DIY shop and a French superstore and of course they have underground parking so should be a cool day.
Driving there is still as exciting as the first time I got behind a wheel here. You need to have eyes in the back and sides of your head to stay out of trouble. Also there is a police checkpoint on the edge of town which always raises the blood pressure. Not that I am unlawful but just that with limited Russian you really don’t want to be stopped and you need to keep all sorts of documents on your person just in case.
We have a different car right now as Judi’s blew up in the middle of a 5 land road in rush hour the other week. Interestingly it was the day after it was serviced and it overheated within 5 miles of home on the way to see her factory and just gave up the ghost in the middle of the road. Judi is far more pragmatic than I would have been as it was obvious someone either forgot to top up the radiator or forgot to put the plug back.
So past the checkpoint and not my turn to be pulled over so short dash down the motorway (only undertaken twice by people rushing down the hard shoulder) and pull into Aushan the supermarket.
Not a fan in sight so I choose to do the standard shop which invariably means a box of chardonnay and a large pack of diet coke. I was going to buy gin but it is expensive and difficult to find. Not however the Vodka. There is actually a whole aisle devoted to the stuff. There is one for cured sausages as well which says a lot for Russian taste. Cat litter is also on the list and I still object to paying $32 for a box but hey Eric is worth it given what she has to put up with.
Onward to the electrical retailers the first has nothing at all except empty shelves which is odd. The second has a couple but $100 is a little steep so whilst I am pondering the purchase I amuse myself in the sports store down the other end of the mall trying on roller blades and climbing into and out of tents. Interesting combination you think?. Well rollerblades are something I have been considering for while as it would be easier to transport than the bike. The tents are because you can get these ones which just spring out and can be folded away without having to undo anything which is cool.
So I decide that $100 is acceptable but first I will go back to the first store as maybe they have moved the fans somewhere else in the store. As I walk in there is a crowd of people following a boy dragging a pallet out of the back. As soon as it comes to a halt before me the crowd turns into a pack of wild dogs tearing at the shrink-wrap and low and behold its fans. The big stand up ones. I of course forget my manners and just grab at one, well all these people cannot be wrong can they?. So once I have it I take a better look at the box. Lucky for me there is an English description so a couple of minutes is enough to convince me this will do but how much is it.
“Сколько стоит, Сколько стоит”(how much is it, how much is it) I ask someone gripping the box more tightly as someone tries to convince me it was theirs. A kind lady (not a shop assistant) tells me the price and at $45 it’s a bargain so now where have they hidden the checkout. Oh there it is behind that long line of people with boxes of fans. There are several people with 2 a couple of people with 3 and one lady who has 5 fans.
The pallet is now empty and the whole of its contents of probably 60 fans is now lined up waiting to be purchased. 5 frantic minutes had reduced it to a pile of shrink-wrap and wood and the staff are clearing up the mess.(I should have taken a picture but forgot). I of course am the last in the queue but hey I got my “Fantastic Fan” and saved $55 so not a bad day really.
If I had been ten minutes earlier or later going into the shop I would have missed it. (I’ve always been lucky)