Last Saturday morning I was strolling the streets of Monastiraki, one of the oldest neighborhoods of Athens, beneath the Acropolis. My steps brought me down those narrow alleys full of tourist-trap trinket-shops; such ~illustrious~ businesses include, of course, shops selling musical instruments— nothing I'd ever recommend, needless to say. But window-shopping is a sweet pastime, so... why not?
Hanging from the rafters in one of those shops, there was a surprisingly good-looking mandola. So I walked in and inquired: Greek-built, yet with a canted top— a bit extraordinary, in that respect. I asked to have it unhinged, I plucked a note or two, felt the instrument in my hands. Not bad, not bad at all! (Wretched, stone-dead carbon-steel strings but, hey... what could I expect?)
The scale was a handy 42 cm; the price, 600-some euros, with all the VAT/shmat surcharges count on $1,000± Had I had my Blackberry in my pocket, I'd have gladly sent out a message to all points north and west (of the sunny tip of Europe's southeast). I don't play the mandola (at least not yet ) and I did not want to run another hefty charge on my credit card; pricey air-fare is plenty, thank you :-/ Nor am I the one to buy to sell. Mando-commerce is not my line of business.
But it was a fair temptation, no doubt. No St. Anthony, I. Skeptical, cautious, stingy, perhaps; or simply without my PDA when I needed it most.