Saturday, July 23, 2011

Go Ahead, Make My Day

My dad always went around telling me, Nothing in life is free. Which, ok, I kind of get. There's often a catch in those sounds-too-good-to-be-true offers. The thing is though, sometimes, you do get things for free.

And I love to get things for free.

It's not even the money I save when I get things for free (although that's nice). I just get some kind of thrill out of it. The system glitches, you find a loop hole, or most often, someone is generous--it feels like such a win.

And yesterday was a big win as far as scoring free things goes. I got to go into a ton of beautiful archeological sites and churches for free. It was already something like 95 degrees before the morning got started so I stopped at a fruit stand to buy an orange. I chose carefully and brought the orange to the guy in charge. He then told me, you picked a bad one! (Which I'm sure was true--I am, for the most part, horrible at picking fruit.) He went and picked me out the best one, gave me a bit of a sad face and then told me that these oranges were for juice not for eating.

Oh. (Again, I'm pretty useless with knowing these things.)

I thought maybe I should get a different fruit, but he told me don't worry, it will be ok, just take it. That's right, just take it--he wouldn't let me pay.

I walked along the streets tossing it into the air feeling oh-so-proud of my free orange.

And, the orange turned out to be delicious.

Next stop: Lunch

I had a really late lunch and by the time I found a nice little restaurant I was starving. The waitstaff sent over an older Greek waiter who turned out to be their go-to English speaker. He was super friendly and chatty and I had a nice meal all around. I'm horrible at getting waiters' attention to ask for the bill and so sat eating bread and tzatziki until I could catch him.

And for some reason, somewhere between me asking for the bill and it actually coming the owner-lady came out and brought me a giant beer. I tried telling her I didn't order one, that I was actually just waiting on my bill, until she had my waiter come over and he explained that it was for me, on the house.

Um...thank you?

I don't even like beer and here was this giant one. But hey, it was free!

Then came free watermelon! Ripe, heart of the melon, served with ice watermelon. Oh man. Some of the best watermelon ever.

And then when I ate everything (again) and asked for my check (again) the waiter looked a bit sad and asked if I would like a coffee--on the house. You know if I had the time. And if I didn't want to walk around in the heat. (Which I did, and didn't.)

All right, bring on the free coffee! He got excited and then asked how I wanted it.

Finally I pulled myself out of there, so full that I could barely walk back to the hostel, but smiling the whole way back.

Nice people are so lovely.

(Also, all these free things put me in an even more than usually generous mood, which led to a quite interesting story. But more on that later!)


Sandy said...

I told Dad he had to read your blog--that you mentioned him. He said, "oh no, what is it going to cost me?" I said, "Nothing--it's free" and guess what he said......"Nothing's Free!" I just had to laugh and tell him he needed to read your blog :)

Debbie said...

Lauren!! I love this post! What a fantastic experience! I was in Kotor when I picked out an apple to buy at an open-air market. I guess it's odd for someone to buy only one apple there? The guy just waived me off with a smile..."You take!" Then I bought a purse in Mostar and the lady held out a basket of cool earrings and said "A gift for!" Generosity is the bomb gift!!! The best thing is that you were open to receiving it:-)