It’s Friday morning and I’m too lazy to drag myself out of bed and into town. This means I’m missing market, a crucial part of European life. Market is kind of like if the CNE ran year-round without the rides but with cheese and vegetables. Basically it’s a maze of white tents with merchants hocking wares for low, low prices.
Bike got stolen, got a new bike, need a new lock and don’t want to pay 16€ for one from the bike shop? Then head over to market find the appropriate stall and hand over 12€. Vintage hats, discount lingerie, bulk olives, fresh stroopwafels and 10€ shoes are all here. There are even fish stands a la Chinese supermarkets but sans the swimming tanks of live fish.
I thought Utrecht had the market thing down. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday it’s here for your needs. But last week after a mostly sleepless night in Rotterdam, I awoke to find a far superior market. Content-wise the Rotterdam market is identical to the Utrecht one, but with more tents selling the same things. Somehow, the atmosphere is just unquantifiably better. I attribute a large part of this to stands selling ready-made food. I got this from this huge mother, or börek as the Turkish call it, to eat (and flake all over my jacket) while I trawled the market. It cost 2,50€, was filled with feta cheese and spinach, and worth every eurocent.
Probably the most puzzling and essential tent at the market is the one hocking American name-brand cosmetics. It reminds me of those warehouse sales constantly advertised in Canada. Probably most of these brands exist in the stores here but are they really that expensive to warrant their a tent at the market? And furthermore, why would would you want these products anyways?
Despite the fact that I’ve spent years making fun of weird/grammatically incorrect/nonsensical clothing from Asia, Europe has its own offences. Case in point are the boxers pictured above found at the one of the discount lingerie and underwear retailers. One attempt at explanation is, apparently, French slang for penis is “souris,” or mouse. Either way, this gets filed into a growing pile of evidence that the European life is not the romantic dream I always hoped it was.