Monday, May 27, 2013

Old ladies bodychecking me? Yep, it's the Kaiserslautern Pfennig Bazaar

First of all: yes, I'm really behind on writing stuff. I can't even keep up with myself, but living here is such a trip filled with trips and adventures.

In March, I attended the Pfennig Bazaar (auf deustch, Pfennigbasar) , a fundraiser hosted by the German-American and International Women's Club of Kaiserslautern (DAIFC/GAIWC). It is a giant rummage sale held in the event hall at the Gartenschau in Kaiserslautern.

I always love me a good rummage sale (garage sale, boot sale, yard sale, whathaveyou) so of course I had to visit.

It was basically mayhem, in which I kept getting body checked without an "entschuldigung" from elderly ladies, then I bought a Persian carpet and a purse and finished the event by eating a German torte. It was a fine experience. 

To explain in more detail: the sale is HUGE and super crowded. There are some great deals to be had; I bought a wool hall rug for only 5 euros. How do I know it's actually wool? Well, since I am allergic to wool and my arm started itching where the rug made contact, I'm quite sure it's wool. I missed out on a second rug because I was being polite and didn't want to race to it in front of someone else who was going to look at it. I also bought a purse for 50 cents. 

There are so many items available, from clothing to sports equipment to household electronics (though I'm a bit suspicious of those) to other household goods. If one is kitting out one's apartment, it is a great place to stop. 

However, did I mention how busy it is? It was absolutely packed when I entered about an hour and a half after it started. It was so busy that it felt almost feral. People kept ramming into me, no "excuse mes" (in German OR English) said. After apologizing to several people when THEY rammed into ME, I finally decided on the whole when in Rome (Germany) I didn't go out of my way to avoid running into people, nor did I go out of the way to say "excuse me," either. This is weird, but I found it oddly exhilarating and definitely feral. In the US, we maintain a lot of personal space and often will apologize if it seems like we have come close to infringing on someone else's space. Here it's not like that so much. 

After visiting the Bazaar, I have the following hints:
-parking around the Bazaar/Gartenschau is crazy. If you have one person who can wait by the gate with your stuff and one person to drive up from parking in the hinterlands, that is very useful.
-if you're hoofing it, you might want to bring one of those little grocery bags on wheels to carry your stuff home. Just keep in mind that you'll probably be rudely jostling other people with it as they jostle you back. Equal opportunity jostling is the name of the game!
-If you don't bring one of those grocery bag things mentioned above, do bring some sort of bag(s).
-Bring plenty of cash (euros). It doesn't hurt to have small bills/coins. Each type of goods is set up separately and you pay at each station. So, I paid for my purse at the purse section.
-don't come here if you have agoraphobia or hate crowds. It's a nightmare for either one. However, if you want to get out your unrestrained urge to bump into other people who bump into you and don't say excuse me, this is the place for you.

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