Friday, November 7, 2008

To Market to Market...

The Dubai Flea Market is something I've been looking forward to. It's held once a month on the first Saturday in Safa park beneath palm trees in a huge gathering of color and people and stuff.

All sorts of stuff. Books, clothes, homemade jewelery, garage sale sorts of things, in other words, an utterly fun huntfest. The kids and I arrived about an hour after it started, armed with exactly 19 Dhs. ($5.17). Three of that went to pay the gate fee for the park (kids are free). I had raided our change coffee cup since our bank account was whimpering quietly, not sure when Mike would be paid next. I figured it'd be a challenge and part of the fun. Bethy brought her own little purse with separate funds, having saved up her 5 Dhs allowance several weeks in a row and done extra work around the house for the odd Dirham.

It was about 95 degrees midmorning, and the bustle of people swarming around the vendors represented a hodgepodge of every nationality imaginable. There was sharp bargaining going on for everything from brass to highchairs and television sets. Many of the vendors had signs describing which charity would benefit from their sales, though a few were people cleaning out their storage areas or artists and craftspeople. People brought huge bags, handcarts even, and many of these were overflowing. The kids dove right in and were quivering with excitement at all the neat stuff and the happy vibe.

Bethy immediately bought a small stuffed toy dog for 8 Dhs to benefit hungry canines. I bought each of them striped plastic balls from an overflowing giant black plastic bag (the kids agonized over the choice of color, finally settling for blue-striped and red-striped) at 2 for 1 Dhs for another local charity. There were large squishy cushions laid out on one end of the gathering for people to lounge upon and listen to a slightly hippie guitarist, and on the other end some poor woman sweltered in a true Minnie Mouse getup and hugged the kids multiple times. Minnie apparently is a Filipina here, or so her accent indicated.

I let Bethy decide where we would go and what we would see. She wanted to see everything, and had a hard time not spending all the money from her pink satin Princess purse within moments of arrival. Even with the tiny amount of money I'd brought, I managed to find some wonderful treasures:

I thought these handcarved wooden toys were absolutely charming, and at 2 Dhs apiece, how could I go wrong? Thomas has played with them nonstop since. Animals with wheels are 2 for 2 on his "favorites" list. Of course, no savannah dwellers ever made the vroom vroom noises Thomas employs as he pushes them around, but that's the gift of being young with an imagination.

We walked down the aisles between the three long rows of tables, finding every sort of item imaginable. I also found a 5 Dhs bill on the ground, but kept it aside, figuring that was sort of cheating.

On addition to the doggie (about whom she announced "Her good name is Goldie and her family name is Allison" -see how she's picking up the local venacular?) and the striped ball Bethy ended up with a bright pink sequined mask (1 Dhs) and a perfect fairy lunchbox (4.5o Dhs). Not a bad haul for a little girl!

We ran into a few people we knew from work and running...Dubai may be a big city, but it's also a very small town. We were getting pretty pink and sweat was beginning to puddle, so after 2 hours of fun we called it a day.

I cannot wait for the next Dubai Flea Market...and next time, the kids and I will be there the minute it opens and I'm bringing some real cash for an entirely different experience...

1 comment:

camelland said...

i haven't posted comments before since i'm reading posts from so far back in time - i did send you an email via FB tho. but i did want to ask (and sariya can confirm this) those animal toys on wheels - if you ever see one of a camel, will you let her know? i collect camels and haven't got one of those yet!