I’m all shopped out now, an hour or so in Jumbo does that for you. It was a fun day if you don’t mind hideous music and the smell of plastic. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Jumbo in Rhodes (or anywhere, I expect), but it’s something of a culture shock after Symi. Maybe that should be a ‘lack of culture’ shock, I don’t know, but it’s certainly a useful if startling place to visit. The idea is to pop in for a couple of Christmas things, pick up some sensibles for the house and then pop out again. Er, yeah, well, it never quite works like that. You end up driving a trolley around an obstacle course starting with children’s toys and ending with a free for all in the confection department, and by then, your trolley is piled high with unmissable bargains and all kinds of things you didn’t know you needed until you saw them and realised you could no longer manage without.
I’m not being entirely serious, of course, we found all manner of things we had on a list and more besides. I was very impressed with the aisle widths. At some moments, even when entering a chicane in household goods, there was enough space for the trolley to get through, albeit only an extra couple of milometers either side. I realised that someone had the job of measuring and checking the aisle width all the way around the thousands of square feet that make up the place to ensure there was — breath in — just enough room to squeeze through. I was also rather impressed with the car accessory department. I found myself wondering why I was attracted to the rubber footwell mats until I realised the smell of the material was making me high, and I had to move on because the display of windscreen sun shields was reflecting the Christmas lights and tripping me out.
All this was accompanied by some of the worst Christmas music you could imagine, which also added to the fun. Among the chart-topping, heart-stopping, Japanese torture playing obtrusively from above, we had Jumbo’s own ‘carols’, a wayward version of ‘Favourite Things’ sung in Greek with slightly altered melody to, I assume, avoid copyright infringement, and the song I titled “How many times can we get in rhymes, artistry forsaking for making the baking while taking the…” Whatever. It was one of the best displays I’ve heard of how not to write a song, or at least, if you do, how to write a song to show everyone else how not to overdo your internal rhymes for the sake of having them in there. They had even managed to find a series of rhymes for ‘happy’, one of which was ‘crappy’ and I couldn’t have agreed more. Still, it was a laugh, but I can’t help feeling so sorry for the people that have to work in it all day.
Anyway, the bulk of the Christmas tat shopping done (along with some very useful things for the kitchen that I’d forgotten we didn’t own and wondered how we had lived so long without), and we took a taxi back to town to visit other shops. The taxi was driven by a sit-com character who has a Romanian stripper for a wife, another girl on the side and a dislike of certain islanders because he once visited and was ripped off for two plates of chips, a salad and some rubbery calamari. (€130.00, allegedly, and I’m not mentioning names.) Still, I learnt a few new swearwords and booked him back to pick us up later for the boat. But that’s another story.