Split

Pazar - A Personal History

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Siniša Pavić grew up in Split and now lives in Zagreb. He shares with us his memories of Pazar, Split's legendary marketplace.

- Everyone has their favourites, everyone knows who has which spot on Pazar, which goods are sold where, and some things have become conventional wisdom, for example that the best greens are from Podstrana, the best soured cabbage is from Glavice near Sinj, and the best citrus fruits are from the islands... You can learn to be an expert in recognising the best produce, organically grown and sold by the person who grew it. If the lady behind the table has dirt under her fingernails that's a good sign, it means that she's been working the land.

- If you want the best prices come later on. 'Cause at the end of the day, they sell everything cheaper just to get home. But they won't give it away for free.

- Once upon a time you had to cross a small bridge to reach Pazar, Split's marketplace. Right alongside Pazar ran a railway track, which they later closed down. Along its route now stand kiosks selling piles of goods, clothing, shoes and a few food items. At one time on this bridge people used to exchange money on the black market (mostly German marks), as well as cigarettes, and jeans – which you couldn't buy anywhere else. In the morning people would gather here eager to work, day labourers, and here alongside Pazar others would buy goods from farmers only to sell them on an hour later.

- Haggling!? To be honest, you've got to have guts and talent for that. But experience shows that here, in true Mediterranean style, the stallholders are suckers for charm. A few kind words and who knows, alongside the head of lettuce you set out to buy you might get one free!

​The Pazar of My Childhood

Pazar! The stomach, the belly, the guts of the city! The Pazar of my childhood, even though, my father says, it's changed little over the years. It's still endlessly colourful, full of melodious sound as the ladies behind the tables shout over each other to bring in the buyers. Here are the smells of life, unbeatable scents, of cabbage souring in barrels, smoky dried meat, unwaxed oranges that spray out juice as you run your fingernail over the skin. It's the same, but different, different because when you're small everything's different, and when you grow up everything is more or less sentiment. When you grow up you realise: it was the university of life, of gourmets, of gluttons, of epicureans, of deliciousness.
....
My father used to set off for work at dawn, my brother was small and my mother was a solicitous mother who tried to squueze everything in despite working morning shifts one day and afternoon shifts the next. It turned out that those inconvenient hours had their bright side. Because she couldn't make it, it would often be me who headed off to Pazar for our groceries. Probably my puppy fat and my evident satisfaction while eating convinced my mother that I could do no wrong. And I wasn't half bad. She would hand me a list, and I'd have the freedom to wander around the tables, weighing up the fruit and vegetables, careful not to fall for the honeyed tones of a mountain accent which reminded me of my grandparents, or the equally mellifluous island dialect. What gave my role even more importance was the fact that my mother would give me just enough money to ensure that if I spent wisely, a couple of dinars (that was the currency in those days) would be left over, so that after two or three trips to Pazar I'd have enough for a comic. Even such a young age it was worth being shrewd, being satisfied with a cheap ice cream from the old-fashioned machines and remembering the important things from the headlines Ante called out when selling the newspapers – the things that were important indeed because they were the reason why people bought newspapers. A small boy could feel awfully big carrying bags of groceries home from Pazar. And awfully proud when the next day his classmates would pinch his sandwich with the hunter's salami, which you could only buy in the kiosk at the bottom end of Pazar. And endlessly flattered when his mother first said to him, «Come on, let's take a walk at the fish market.» The Peškarija, the fish market, a mythical place which you just have to stroll by, you don't have to buy a thing. It's enough to catch the scent and know that you're a part of that sea, that land, that city.
....
To leave Pazar, to leave for the big wide world was easy at first. When you're a strapping teenager those things don't seem to matter. There are Pazars in other places, you think naively. But there's always some connection, it's alive as long as your mother tells you during an evening phonecall about today's catch, or she tells you how you can now buy soparnik, that miraculous delicacy dreamed up by the poor people of the hinterland, by the slice, but it's not even close to the one my late grandmother baked in her fireplace.
However good those replacement markets might be, however colourful and full of scent, it's now clear that I miss that passion, that uncertainty whether a kuna will be left over for a comic, and I miss those shouts in dialects which my officially-proscribed accent never picked up.
«Why must they shout so?», I remember she asked when she first realised that in Split, on the market, you can't buy less than half a kilo, and nobody with any sense even asks. It's embarrasing, for goodness' sake, and they give you a good ticking off, even if you're the daughter of the President himself. And what seemed to her like rudeness was for me the best poem ever, the best song.
While you sing the praises of their greens they praise your youth and good looks, even if it's clear that you left your youth and good looks somewhere by the kiosk with the hunter's salami. It's the same game wherever you go. Wherever you end up you try to cook sauce so it tastes just the same as that small boy remembers, who knew no greater satisfaction than to arrive home from school, break off a hunk of bread and dip it right into the saucepan before his mother caught him.
....
- «Dad, has anything changed?» asks the emigré son, himself now a father.
- «Almost nothing», says Dad.
Almost nothing. Tell the youth of today that there are oranges and oranges, those from the supermarkets and those on the tables at Pazar, and how they are nowhere near the same thing and how they can't be, even though their mother tells them there's no difference. To have your own stallholder for eggs, a lady for chard, a butcher who won't cheat you. A lady at the fish market who'll give you a barely discernable nod to show which fish is fresh and which isn't... That's a matter of survival, of growing up, of evolution. Pazar, the fish market, coffee, newspapers. Confound it, that's it. There's no recession, no accounting law, no minister of finance who can take it away. As long as there's the human race there will be Pazar!

Siniša Pavić

Pazar - mrvu zanimljivosti

- Nekad se do Pazara dolazilo preko malog mostića. Tik uz Pazar je, naime, prolazila pruga, vlakić, da bi se kasnije usjek zatvorio. Danas su po njemu kiosci s gomilom robe, odjeće, cipela, mrvu prehrane. Nekad su se na mostiću švercale devize, odnosno marke njemačke, cigare, traperice jer rebatinki valjanih za kupit nije bilo. Tu bi se jutrom skupljali i ljudi željni posla, nadničari, a tu tik uz Pazar nekad se od poljoprivrednika kupovala roba da bi se sat kasnije preprodavala.
- Ako je 'ko voljan proć mrvicu jeftinije, bolje je ganjat kasnije sate. Jer, pred kraj radnog vremena sve će vam prodat za manju cijenu samo da odu doma. No, u bescjenje neće ić.
- Svatko ima svoje favorite, zna se i gdje tko na Pazaru stoji, koja se roba na kojem njegovu dijelu prodaje, ma neka stvari su se uvriježile, recimo to da je dobra verdura iz Podstrane, kiseli kupus iz Glavica kod Sinja, agrumi s otoka... Ma, valja biti majstor za prepoznat pravu, onu eko robu što je prodaje onaj koji ju je i uzgojio. Crno ispod noktiju tete za bankom dobar je znak, znak da je sa zemljom radila.
- Cjenkanje!? Iskreno, za to treba bit i talentiran i hrabar. No, iskustvo govori da se tu, onako tipično mediteranski, pada na šarm. Dvije, tri lijepe riječi i tko zna, možda uz glavicu salate što ste je ionako kanili kupiti dobijete još jednu mukte.

Na Pazaru od mog djetinjstva

Pazar! Trbuh grada, stomak, trbuj! Pazar iz moga djetinjstva, makar se, kaže pape, malošto kroz godine promijenilo. I dalje je beskrajno šareno, i dalje je milozvučna buka dok se gospođe s banaka nadvikuju ne bi li navabile kupce, i dalje su to vonji od života, mirisi od kojih boljih nema bilo da je kupus što se u kacama kiseli, bilo da je su'vo meso, bilo da je ona neprskana naranča iz koje sok pršti samo da je noktom zagrebete malo. Isto, a opet sve je drugačije, drugačije jer kad si dijete sve je drugačije, a kad narasteš sve je, manje više, sentiment. Ma, kad narasteš onda znaš – bila je dobra škola, životna dakako, gurmanska, izjelička, deliciozna, bonkulovićevska.
....
Pape je zorom išao na posao, brat je bio mali, a mati je bila brižna mati koja je nastojala sve stići makar je jedan dan radila jutarnju, a drugi popodnevnu smjenu. Pokazalo se kako u tom nesretnom radnom vremenu ima i ponešto dobra. Kako ona ne bi stizala, na Pazar bi po spizu išao često ja. Blagi višak kilograma, neskriveno zadovoljstvo dok se nešto slasno papa valjda su majku uvjerili kako sa mnom ne može promašiti. I bome, dobro me išlo. Ona bi dala spisak, a ja bi imao slobodu, pa bi šetao oko banaka, mjerkao voće i povrće, pazio da ne nasjednem na slatkorječivost vlaškog naglaska koji me podsjećao na baku i djeda, ili na jednako slatkorječivo otočko meko slovo ć. Da pak ulog bude čim veći, mati bi dala taman toliko novca da, uz pametnu potrošnju, može ostati koji dinar (tada se u nas valuta zvala dinar op.a.) taman da se u dvije tri šetnje po Pazaru skupi za kakav strip. Valjalo je, dakle, od malena biti znalac, onaj koji će znati odoljeti jeftinom sladoledu iz automata i koji neće zaboraviti bitno dok osluškuje Antu što prodaje novine kako na glas izgovara naslove, one bitne dakako zbog kojih se tisak i kupuje. Jedan je dječačić bio strašno velik dok je kući s Pazara vukao vrećice sa spizom. I strašno ponosan kad bi se sutradan kolege u školi otimale baš za njegov sendvič s onom lovačkom salamom koje nema nego u kiosku na dnu Pazara. I beskrajno počašćene kad mu je mati prvi put rekla: „Ajde, idemo prošetat Peškarijom.“
Peškarija, ribarnica, mitsko mjesto kojim se proć' mora, makar se ne kupilo ništa. Dovoljno je da se arija ovonja, pa da znaš da si dio toga mora, zemlje, grada.
....
Otić s pazara, otići u bijeli svijet isprva je bilo lako. Kad se zamomčiš ne čini se bitnim. Ima Pazara i drugdje, naivno misli čovjek. A i neka veza je uvijek tu, uvijek živa dok ti stara navečer referira kakva je na ribarnici bila ponuda, ili ti veli kako su evo i soparnik, tu čudesnu deliciju što ju je izmislila sirotinja iz zaleđa, počeli prodavat na fete, ali nije nijedan k'o onaj što ga je pokojna baka na kominu pekla. No, koliko god zamjenske tržnice bile dobre i šarene i mirisne, sad je jasno da fali ona strast i neizvjesnosti hoće li ostat koja kuna za strip, i fali ona vika na dijalektu na koji se moja zakonita nikada nije navikla.
- "Što moraju tako vikati - sjećam se pitala je kad se prvi put suočila s činjenicom da joj u Splitu, na tržnici, nitko neće prodat manje do pola kila, niti će itko pametan manje od pola kila pitat. Sramota je brate, a i izruže te bez pardona, pa sve da si predsjednikova kći. A ono što je njoj nekultura, meni je najdraži stih, najdraže pjesme.
Ma, otišlo se, da bi se vraćalo, a dok se puti ne dogode trenira se naučeno. Jer temelji su tu i neke dobre navike su dane odavna, taman da svako putovanje, svaki slobodan tren, svaki odlazak u kupovinu bude vezan za pazare i tržnice, za peškarije i za tu finu igru što je igraju one koje prodaju i onaj koji kupuju. Pa dok ti njima hvališ zelenilo, oni tebi hvale mladost i lipost makar je svima jasno da je i mladost i lipost ostala tamo negdje kraj kioska s lovačkom salamom. Ta je igra svuda ista. I gdje god se dođe pokušava se skuhat toć da bude taman onakav kakvim ga pamti klinac kojem nije bilo većeg gušta nego doć doma iz škole, uzet pupu od kruha i pomacat ravno iz teće mrvu toća dok ga mater ne ulovi.
....
-Pape, je li se što promijenilo - pita sin gastarbajter i sam već otac.
- Skoro ništa - kaže pape.
Skoro ništa. Sad samo valja uvjeriti pomladak kako ima naranača i naranača, onih u supermarketu trgovačkih centara i onih na banku pazara, i kako to ni u ludilu nije isto i ne može biti makar joj mati kazivala kako nema tu razlike. Imati svoju kumicu s jajima, tetu s blitvom, mesara koji neće krsta na vagi, ribaricu na ribarnici koja će ti dat jedva primjetan mot glavom što je friško a što ne, to je pitanje opstanka i odrastanja, evolucije. Pazar, peškarija, kava, novine. Svega mu, to je to. I nema te recesije i fiskalne blagajne i tog ministra financija koji će to devastirat! Jer dok je ljudi bit će i Pazara!

Siniša Pavić
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