People often ask if I miss the city life, the convenience of living with all sorts of services on my doorstep. The choice of restaurants. The ready availability of entertainment from theatres to cinemas, concert halls, art galleries, and the museums. We have all those in the countryside too, we just have to drive to get there rather than walk or take public transport. Perhaps one of the greatest inconveniences is not having a good supermarket within walking distance. Meals take planning if I want to be sure that I have all the ingredients (or possible substitutes) to hand. I cleaned out the kitchen press today and it told me that I have a fear of running out of French mustard (x5), baked beans (x 10), condensed chicken soup (x8), sundried tomatoes (x5), and anchovies (x8). Who knew!
Country life, though, finds a way to more than compensate for any shortfalls. Entrepreneurial people populate the place, each trying to make a living doing something they like to do. I had my first appointment today with Diana, a German lady who arrived in Zala with her family not too long ago. She’s a pedicurist. She doesn’t work out of a salon, though, she comes to you. Yep. To your house. Would you get that in the city? I think not! It helps that she lives in the village but she will travel within a 30-km radius.
Like most people I’ve met in Zala, she’s had an interesting life. She learned her trade when her dad was bedridden and needed his toenails tended to. He’d always had problems with his nails and the nursing staff weren’t giving them the attention they needed. Cut to the quick. Bloody. Sharp. Not good. So she did what good daughters do. She’s also qualified to do minor nail surgery but wouldn’t dream of doing that sort of thing outside a clinic.
She arrived promptly, her bag of tricks in hand. I poured a basin of hot water to which she added soap and the soak started. Diana brings all her own towels and such, so all you really need to do is sit back and enjoy. She unrolled her instruments and started work. Had I wanted polish, she’d have been happy to oblige with any one of an array of colours to choose from.
In just a few months, Diana has built up a steady customer base, with most clients on a three-week appointment schedule. Must be nice, I thought, to have such a budget that would allow for a pedicure every three weeks. But I was thinking of what I paid for my last pedicure in the USA. This is Hungary. And more precisely, it’s Zala. And unlike some other expats whose price base is still tied to the UK, Ireland, Germany, or North America, Diana is local, out to make a living not a killing. I paid 2000 ft (~£5, €6, $7) and am booked in again for November.
If you’re living in Zala, near the Kis-Balaton, and have been looking for a good pedicure, she’s your woman. Let me know if you’d like her number.