Friday, December 10, 2010

The Bazaar

 Over the past week I had noticed a growing amount of makeshift structures being built in our local park.  I wasn’t sure what was occurring, but it looked as though Le Thi Rieng was slowly transforming from a dingy, urban green space into a grimy refugee camp (or the American euphemism – a tent city).  As the shanty town grew, hordes of people began to mill about and boxes sprang open littering the surrounding area with knock-off apparel. I then realized that only one thing could be happening: a street fair.  Sure enough, the sign went up Friday announcing a week of festivities going on in the park.  On Saturday night, after work, Gavin and I headed over to scope the merchandise and take part in the revelry.  The park was crowded with people of all ages both selling and buying various incarnations of crap.  We arrived with unrefined, naïve expectations: maybe some local artists’ would be displaying their oil paintings or handmade pottery.  Albeit, this was not the place to find anything original.   

We wandered in a daze from booth to booth, examining useless plastics while suffering from sensory overload.   

For sustenance, we turned to faux-shrimp skewers and potato dumplings. Vietnamese fair food is analogous to its American counterpart in composition and flavor - greasy and generally tasteless.  We bought some items here and there. 

Gavin found toothbrush holders shaped like animal heads that are currently attached to our bathroom mirror.  I bought some wooden 3D puzzles (crocodile and human cadaver) and a stuffed animal pencil case named Metoo.  We also found some cute baby booties for friends back home.  
There were whole booths piled high with kitchen utensils , where I got a ladle and a strainer. 
Gavin bought a bag of dried, spicy squid to complement his beer intake.   

There was an overwhelming amount of underwear being sold, yet we passed on the local custom of frantic pile digging.   
 Imitation watches and sunglasses choked the aisles between the tents and on the way out, we even stopped to admire large-scale psychedelic holograms of typical awe-inspiring images: random infants, kittens, gloomy Madonna holding emaciated child, etc.   

To top off this slovenly affair, we stopped at the local KFC franchise before heading home.  I dragged Gavin in and threw him unwillingly into a booth – his stream of muttered invectives finally dammed off by a vanilla cone moonlighting as a pacifier.   
 No wonder students always tell me that KFC is their favorite food group.  There is no finer pairing than Popcorn Chicken and soft-serve ice cream.


CAROL said...

This is mind boggling, the pictures make you feel as though you were there. I was really tempted by the pink rollers, since mine are yellow.....and the more you looked you either want to run or make sure you come home with something! The street food didn't look so bad either!

David said...

Wowsie am I jealous. This is it! The best of Ho Chi Minh City also known as the parade of plastic. And what about faux shrimp? They have them on the menu here. Are they faux? Are they shrimp? Are they plastic? Good grief your photos are fantastic, your verbige excellent and the posting sublime. What pride to have such a daughter and so handsome an ice cream loving son-in-law - go Gavino! Go Pilisis!

Nellie said...

Mom and Pops: glad you liked the post! Those shrimp sure are fake. They were bread molded into shrimp form! How gross!

Isis said...

Ha ha ha, what fun Nellie !! You walked through a ton of meaningless plastic and used more creative words than I've read since my 18th Century Lit class!

Love your writing! Love the Ice-cream pic ("moonlighting as a pacifier") HA HA HA !!
xox Isis