I have been wanting a basket like this for quite awhile. Probably since I first ventured to the Turkish side of the island and was introduced to the world of Cypriot handicrafts. It was love. Deep, true, woven love. But there was no way I could justify the purchase, what with us needing shelves and a car..and food.
This weekend, however, I said to heck with it. Last year on our honeymoon, we searched high and lo for a piece of artwork for our home to mark the occasion. For our anniversary we (yes we, not just me.) wanted to do something similar. After our excursions in Paphos, we started driving back to the condo we were renting for the weekend, taking what I was convinced would be the scenic route home. Mr. F was driving and rather sleepy (afternoon naps are essential when on holiday, you know) and was focusing on driving on the correct side of the road while all I could see were the numberless basket and pottery shops we were passing. Eventually Mr. F noticed my pouty face (it was bad...), turned around, and found a parking place to nap while I went scavenging.
I by-passed two pottery shops (something that nearly never happens) and went directly to the little basket shop. An old stone facade with a wide double door entry covered in handmade ditties welcomed me. I stepped in and smiled in childish delight at all of the options. Deep baskets and shallow. Utilitarian multi-taskers and colorful display pieces. I wandered about, having a certain type of basket in mind. In the back of the shop, a television was on with Cypriot soap operas playing and a little old Yiayia paying close attention to it. I tried to catch her attention, but to no avail, so I kept searching.
Not long after, the kindly grandmother took notice of me and began helping me find the perfect treasure. My Greek was barely better than her English, so we were quite the team. She helped me choose between two and I landed on the locally made one. Yiayia began wrapping it up and I tried, yet again, to get her attention. I didn't have cash and needed to know where an ATM was. She mumbled something and pointed outside, so I tried to reassure her that I'd be right back, I just needed to pull out the money.
As luck would have it, this was the only ATM I've experienced in Cyprus that wasn't multi-lingual. Greek stared back at me and I mildly panicked. I had no idea what button to push and feared the machine would eat my card. The Yiayia came out to see me panicked and, not understanding me, yelled down a man to come over and help translate. I tried to explain my predicament and that I just needed to know what button to push if he would be kind enough to help me.
"I no understand. Go over there," pointing across the street to an open air cafe, "English. Ask them."
Growing increasingly flustered and amused with the situation, I crossed the street to find a girl about my age who spoke good English who was willing to help me. She came back to the ATM with me, waited until my pin was in, then helped me navigate the maze of Greek until I had money in hand. She smiled kindly and didn't seem to think anything of it, though I thanked her profusely for coming to my aid.
Cash in hand, I went back to the shop to find my Yiayia chatting with one of her neighbors. I smiled and handed her the money. She wobbled behind the counter to get me my change while her companion began trying to ask me questions.
"Ingkland?" Blank stare from me. "Eeengkland? You from?"
"Oh," I registered, "No, no. Not England. The States."
"Ohhhh, Amrika!" Then he proceeded to tell our host that I was from Amrika. She smiled delightedly and offered us both huge pieces of Turkish delight before handing me my parcel and sending me on my way.