Discover prompts: dish

I’ve taken today’s writing prompt a little more literally than it was proposed. Dish = an actual dish you eat from, not a dish you eat.

The Ciudad Rodrigo dish

We were on a 10 day trip around Spain at Easter. We planned to be in Salamanca over the Easter festival days. We booked a hotel before we left, knowing Easter is a major holiday in Spain. We had an email from the booking site confirming our booking so we were guaranteed somewhere to stay. Or so we thought.

This being in the pre-smart-phone era, we had to go to an Internet cafe part way through our trip to check our email. Here we found a further message from the hotel booking site saying they were not able to confirm our hotel booking for Salamanca. The town we were arriving at in two days. During one of the busiest festivals of the year.

We turned to our guidebook and looked for towns near Salamanca that might have accommodation and might have transport connections to Salamanca. And then we spent half an hour ringing places, looking for an available room. And me with only a few weeks of basic Spanish under my belt. But that was enough to know the word “Completo” meant full. I got a lot of “completo”.

We finally found a room in the town of Ciudad Rodrigo. An hour from Salamanca by bus, but it was a room, so we took it. On arrival we dropped off our bags and had an ice cream in the town square to celebrate. There was also a pottery exhibition / sale going on in the square. With not much else to do in Ciudad Rodrigo, we took some time to look at the pottery. Whether it was the ice cream, the relief at having somewhere to stay or just because it was sunny and warm, we bought several pieces of pottery. Including this colourful but oddly shaped dish.

The Istanbul dishes

I bought these in Istanbul, on a work trip. I don’t get work trips often, and when I do they are usually very long working days with no time for fun, but on this particular trip I was there for a conference and my colleagues and I managed to sneak out for a morning to the Grand Bazaar.

I really hate bargaining, and in the Grand Bazaar almost nothing has a price on it, it’s up to you and your negotiating skills as to how much you pay. As a result I didn’t even look at most things for sale. I could admire them, but I didn’t want the stress of bargaining to buy them. I saw these dishes and was immediately attracted by the detailed painting and design, and to my delight these dishes had a fixed price, so I was happy to purchase them, especially as it didn’t involve any bargaining. Did I pay too much? Maybe, but I didn’t have to bargain.

The big one has a little chip in it now. I’ve repaired it as best I could. It’s not perfect, but I still love it.

The Fish dish

We took the early morning train from Lisbon to Sintra and were waiting for the bus to take us to the famous castle. Sintra town is small and very touristic, although early in the morning it was still very quiet and there was not a lot open, just a cafe and one souvenir shop. And inside the souvenir shop was this most superb fish dish.

My husband made the valid point that if we bought it, we would have to carry it with us all day, and it was going to be a long day with a lot of walking. “But it’s not very heavy,” I pointed out. “And it might not be here when we come back.” So we bought the fish dish and it came with us to the Palace of Pena, the Moorish Castle and Quinta da Regaleira. It is a well travelled, if not currently well used, fish dish.

The Colonia dishes

These two bowls came from a little shop in Colonia, in Uruguay. I liked the colours of the blue one, but I also liked the shape of the red one. How to choose between them? “Don’t choose,” advises my travel roommate, “buy both.” So I did.

The Mexican dishes

Tulum in Mexico, home to dramatically placed Mayan ruins on a cliff overlooking a bright blue sea. And like any site of archaeological interest, there is an abundance of souvenir shops nearby. My friend and I were in one of the shops, chatting to the guys working there, when we saw these gorgeous painted bowls. Bright colours, completely over the top chilli designs (with glitter), what’s not to love? We of course had to look through the whole stack of bowls to find the ones we liked best, only the to realise this wasn’t a fixed price store. Damn!

“How much do you want to pay?” the guy asked us. My friend and I looked at each other. I was about to name a figure when she got in first, naming a figure 30% more than I had been about to say. This was obviously a great deal for the guys in the shop because they got our purchases tallied up and ready to charge in seconds. Lesson learned: don’t let your generous friend be in charge of price negotiation when you’re bargaining.

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