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.
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.