20 February 2008

Oh, how I miss Corn Dogs!

Today is Market Day in Staines. The high street is lined with vendors selling everything from knock off designer jeans to fresh meat and fruit. I love the cheese man. Huge amount of cheese in every shape and size. The beer man also puts a smile on my face. My favourite item for sell at his stall is the make your own brew at home kit. He is always smiling and singing. Today though, I spotted a new vendor. A cart so full of glory and splendour that I actually stopped walking and just stared for a few moments.

His cart was a blinding shade of yellow with unevenly painted white stripes. An awning of teal and light blue was haphazardly affixed to the top. But the sign was the best, for it advertised fresh squeezed lemonade and hot dogs! Straight out of the Tulsa State Fair was this vendor. Unshaven, shirt unbuttoned far to low, revealing a messy, hairy chest, grease all over his hands, face and clothes and missing a few teeth in the front. He was the epitome of state fair culture. And yet here he was, in south London, selling yummy fair treats on the high street! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was briefly saddened by the lack of Corn Dogs, but was able to over come my disappointment enough to approach the cart. It was here that the difference between this man and the typical fair man became blatantly obvious.

It was my lunch and I so wanted a hog dog. Corn dog really, but I was willing to settle. When one ventures out to the fair, it is expected to pay a huge mark up on typical foods. Lemonade for $3, extra long corn dog for $2 when every one knows full well they bought the frozen jumbo bag that came with 50 dogs at Sams for about $10! But its ok because its a warm fall night, rides buzzing about in the back ground, hands grimy with the grit that only comes in with the carney's and overloaded with cheap, furry prizes won in exchange for a small fortune. But now picture south London. A cobblestone high street that is constantly clicking with the sound of fancy work shoes worn by the busy business people, cloudy, misty and barely above freezing. None of the enjoyable attributes that make one more likely to pay outrageous prices. So when I walked up to the cart, my mouth salivating with the anticipation of a fresh lemonade and hot dog, I was appalled at what I was to find next. The lemonade was £3 and the hot dog was £4.50! A total of 16 dollars for crappy fair food!!! I walked away, shoulders slumped, beyond disappointed. I just couldn’t do it.

On my way back to the office I got a Grande Chai Latte with an extra shot of espresso and a mini sushi snack pack. Sitting back at my desk, remembering the joys of the fair back home and the market in Staines, I wished I had forked over the dough and gotten the hot dog and lemonade instead. Even with the overpriced food, what an amazing thing to have right here in London. A little bit of carney fair culture to brighten my day!

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