Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday Afternoon at the Flea Market




I went with my friend Luuk and Sandra to the Zwarte Market today. It's a HUGE flea market about 18 kilometres from Amsterdam. Sandra used to work there as a manager and as part of my Dutch acculturation curriculum, they thought it would be good for me to be exposed to a non-Amsterdam part of the culture.

The things I learned today:

1. The Dutch are just as tacky and crazy about ugly cheap things as Americans. I saw so many cheap tee shirts, plastic toys, vinyl shoes, and bootlegged dvds as any US flea market. The only difference that I could tell is that the Dutch tend to like more cartoony funny sculptures of men peeing or gnomes and Americans tend to prefer solemn eagles or native Americans in their cheesy home decoration. Also, a lot less flag oriented gear.

2. Turkish food is the Mexican food of America. Similarities: spicy, greasy meat wrapped in a carbohydrate laden bread thing with lettuce and tomatos, fast, easy to eat with fingers, decor frighteningly similar. Turkish fast food places tend to have less decoration of the Virgin Mary. All the men tend to have moustaches.

3. Dutch Rednecks are not as fat as American rednecks. Maybe its the turkish food.

4. It is impossible to spend even 50 euros at the Zwarte Market. I tried in vain to find something to buy - I was tempted by a statue of a dog's ass digging into the ground but not sure there would be a place to put it on my balcony.

5. Unlike American flea markets, Dutch flea markets provide live musical entertainment- synthesizers and love songs!

6. Hema is the best store in the world.

7. Tony Montana of Scarface is a national hero to some.

8. You'll never go broke selling Che Guevera's image to teenagers.

9. 50 Cent could give Tony Montana a run for his money.

and finally...

10. There are more brands of soy sauce available at the Oriental Super Market than should be allowed by law.

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