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Monday, August 31, 2015

A Day at the Swap Meet

This past Saturday, we decided to finally take a trip we'd been planning to do for a while, but hadn't been able to accomplish (mostly due to weather, but other stuff played a part too). It was time to introduce our baby to a Tucson classic, the Tanque Verde Swap Meet.

From the large koi pond near the entrance

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a swap meet basically is a giant open-air yard sale where people bring stuff to sell for cheap. Another name for a swap meet is "flea market", perhaps a more familiar term. Anyone can do it, and all that's needed to reserve a spot is a $15.00 sellers permit which is purchased at the entrance.

Sign high up reads "Yard sale with us! $15", while the stands in the foreground sell kettle corn and Sonora dogs


After parking not in the zoo of a lot, but across the street in the industrial park, we made our way to the entrance. It was a busy Saturday, with plenty of families enjoying the evening.

I made the mistake of parking in the parking lot the first time I drove here. Never again...

Play area for kids near the entrance


Our first stop was to a discount book seller. My hubby insisted on going in there not only because he is a bibliophile, but he is on a never-ending quest to find a Douay-Rheims Catholic bible in hard copy. He insists on getting one that's NOT Challonaire or Haydock annotated, but the original without any "protestant" translations (and he uses a line from the Gospel of Matthew as his litmus test). It bugs me when he does that because my husband HAS a Douay-Rheims bible in soft copy, and for someone who hates paper (most of his literature is in PDF form anyway), this is one paper book he wants to acquire at all cost.

While we've purchased bibles from this particular vendor in the past, she did not have his elusive bible. Much to my delight, however, were the Little Golden Books she had available for sale. As a child, I had many of these books, with their distinctive gold spines and memorable characters. I no longer have the books of my youth, but I remembered some of the titles, so I was able to buy a bunch of them for the baby. My hubby also had a number of Little Golden Books when he was a kid too, and he encouraged me to buy as many as I could. Though she's a bit young now, there will be no shortage of books for our child to read.

So help us God, there is no reason why our child should become illiterate


After the book vendor, we just walked around, seeing what people had for sale. Since I had the baby stroller, I couldn't go into the displays to see the wares more closely due to the stroller being bulky.

Funny signs for sale


Most of the stuff was just junk, but occasionally something interesting caught my eye. I was tickled to death to see how much counterfeit makeup was on sale. I've been wanting the Naked eyeshadow palettes for some time and the ones being sold at the swap meet were significantly cheaper than buying them directly from Urban Decay website. They were some pretty good knockoffs too; if I didn't spend so much time on beauty and makeup blogs, I might not have known that Urban Decay was putting out palettes like Naked 5 and 6 with the US Capitol building emblazoned on it (hint: THOSE WERE FAKE!!). There were also some pretty dubious MAC eyeshadow palettes too. As much as I love makeup (eyeshadow in particular) and cheap prices, there are some things I'd rather buy through reputable channels than risk something grisly happening cuz I bought a knockoff.

There are a few established vendors at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet. They're largely Mexican establishments selling everything from jewelry to leather goods and shoes, to religious items, clothes, toys, and cell phones. Some, mostly owned by whites or in a few cases, Blacks, sell weapons (mostly knives) and incense or knick-knacks. An Indian family owned a large stretch of lots that sold clothes, carpets, bedding, and toys. Meeting that particular family proved to be quite fortuidous, as the first time I went to the Swap Meet was while I was in college, and I was wearing a sari I'd just purchased from a costume shop. One of the proprietors of that stretch of shops, seeing my outfit, told me where I could find a top for the sari when I mentioned that I was looking for one. He also gave good deals on Catholic-themed clothing featuring saints and Lady Guadalupe t-shirts. I wear the Lady Guadalupe t-shirts he sold me to church every Sunday.

As for the big highlight of the night, it had to have been when my husband encountered a "Good Ol' Boy" selling Confederate memorabilia. Since that one cracker in South Carolina shot up a Black church in May, Confederate flags have been all but banned. The toothless vendor emphasized how hard it was to get Confederate memorabilia nowadays, but happily sold a flag and "Forget Hell" license plate to my husband. Being a born-and-bred Southerner, Confederate memorabilia is something my hubby wanted to have as a reminder of home.

Whenever we go to the Swap Meet, I always try and get an elote. An elote is a type of Mexican street food that is made with corn, mayonnaise, sea salt, lime juice, and topped with dried cheese. Elotes can be served as an intact corn-on-the-cob, or as a coctel (in a cup). It's fine on its own, but I always add a hearty dollup of chamoy (a multipurpose Mexican hot sauce that goes with fruit as well as other dishes) and some chili flakes to give it some flavor.

Elote. It's like a corn soup


As I enjoyed my elote treat, we sat at some picnic tables and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Swap Meet.

The "supermoon"


Finally, it was time to go home. The baby enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Swap Meet too, but she was worn out by the trip.

The playground

Saying bye-bye to the fishies in the koi pond

Exit sign


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