Monday, April 23, 2007

Cultural Similarities

We just got back from spending the weekend in Sacramento visiting my sister and bro-in-law. Golf mainly wanted to check out the flea markets there to put his mind to rest when we move that he'll have some good sources for eBay sales.

The main place we went to was Denio's market. If you look at the first photo on the far right when the page loads, you'll see what looks like a smaller American version of Chatuchak market in Bangkok. The permanent flea markets we've been to, such as Denio's and one at the Coliseum in Oakland remind Golf and me of the markets in Thailand. The stuff they sell, like cheap clothing - tables of socks, bras, jeans, shirts - toiletries, bedding is the same. The mannequins here though have bigger booties for the Hispanic population. :) Here there are many used tools and car stereo accessories. Popular Hispanic snacks are sold and there are also food vendors selling tacos and tamales. We like getting this sweet bread when we go to share with Aidan. At Denios, there's even a big pet section, just like at Chatuchak too! The flea markets draw in many Asian and Hispanic vendors and buyers, and I think that has a big influence on what is sold and the whole vibe of the place.

In the permanent flea market set ups, there is a big section for fresh produce and when you walk inside and it's just like walking into a Thai market. Only difference is that fresh meat is not sold because of health regulations. I love, love, love shopping at these flea markets for so many of my needs including food. It's such a good deal and I love being amongst a mix of different cultures and the vendor personalities that Golf runs across is amusing: They are their own bosses, so they can be as rude or as nice as they want to be and you get a wide range of personalities to deal with. Most are rather eccentric too. I guess you would be by nature if you make a living at the flea market.

So in our observances, we've noticed how similar Hispanic culture is to Thai in how we've seen the kinds of things offered for sale. Tables full of music CDs, cell phones and accessories, DVDs, used books, cheap clothing, shoes. The bedding looks almost the same and Hispanics seem to also like the big overstuffed furniture, the same sorts of home decor from clocks to rugs. I'm telling ya, you walk through any of these markets here and it's the same stuff in Thailand, only a different language. Same Same but Different as they say in Thailand. And sometimes I'll see a Mexican teenager standing on a street corner with a bucket of flowers to sell to motorists. In Thailand you'll see them selling newspapers or jasmine garlands for the rearview mirror. It's uncanny how similar it all is and here they are half a world away. Makes me feel wonderful about how similar we human beings are.

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