Monday, June 6, 2011

Souq Goma, Swap Meets, and The Cowboy

I love shopping. There, I said it. Now I should clarify that statement before my manhood is in question. A Saturday morning ritual of my suburban Denver childhood was the Bonanza flea market off of Federal Blvd. near 60th. I was never quite sure what my dad was searching for wandering aisle to aisle. In retrospect, I suppose we suffer from the same condition of not knowing what we’re looking until we find it. Bonanza wasn't slick by any means; it was a series of dirt floor stalls set at the foot of an incline of what I would call one of Denver’s finest landmarks; The Concrete Cowboy. The stoic Marlboro Man inspired cowboy, chaps and all guards the Rustic Ranch Mobile Home and RV Park. This Americana roadside attraction dates from the 1950's and is still standing tall and proud as verified by my buddy Jimmy Lentini, Ana, and myself. In contrast, a couple blocks east on 54th and Zuni St. lies the cornerstone of my irrational childhood fears...the phone company building. How is the phone company building traumatic? The building's tower face can be compared to the offspring between a Tiki God and an Easter Island statue. As a child, I would imagine the tower uprooting itself in the middle of the night and walking over to my bedroom window. It would knock and I would pull the curtains open and scream in terror (I've done several trial runs and yet after all these years I'm still not medicated). If this experience proves anything, let it be the catalyst of why I cover my head with a sheet at night. I know this might be a little too much information considering this post is about flea markets, but since I suffer from a touch of postmodernism or post postmodernism I feel obligated to make some out-of-the-way connection. 
The Concrete Cowboy-photo by: Big B Bob
In San Diego, flea markets are called swap meets and Kolby’s is a favorite. A Saturday morning trifecta consisted of surfing in OB, a lemon yogurt from Barons Marketplace, then spending a couple hours in the Sports Arena parking lot (Kolby’s) buying things I didn’t necessarily need. Some of the better finds over the years have been vintage family photos and school pictures of strangers, bodyboards, art, books, and other bric-a-brac. To say that I miss flea markets is an understatement. This recently has been remedied when our friend Foster Freeze spilled the beans on one of Alex’s most notorious outdoor market-Souq Goma…and now the photos.   

Looking for your lost Olivia Newton-John tape, look no further.  
Need your door painted?  
Huck Finn next to the only burlap sack I've seen in Egypt.  
The idea is that you can buy just about anything here. Rumor had it that a lot of the goods that disappeared off shelves during the looting could be found at bargain basement prices.  
Most booths were organized to a degree. Some sellers plopped their goods on the tram tracks and had to move it every 20 minutes when the tram came through. 
Need a new door for your taxi, no problemo.  
Joysticks, artificial limbs, no worries 
Happy digging. 
The Mansi family kids attend our school. Great family-smart and well behaved children. Sadly their store at the mall was looted during the revolution. This is the sign-but the father said it wasn't stolen.  
There is one block that sells new toilets, but this two-tone throne with a square-ish seat will be the hit to any party. As my friend Hope Knight would say "A touch of class." 
An amusement park ride somewhere in Alex is missing a cow head.  
In the past, a portable car stereo was just a a dream, now it is a reality thanks to advances in technology.  
Do It Yourself shopping.

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