This post is about an event that took place slightly three weeks back, on November 15. I was supposed to post this up before my trip to Blue Mountains but due to a sucky Internet connection, it took me a very long time to upload the videos. I gave up halfway and went on my trip first. I’ve finally managed to upload the videos, so here goes.
Rather long post, so get a cup of hot chocolate (or whatever is your chosen poison), some snacks and enjoy.
Two weeks ago, on Sunday, a street fair took place just a few roads down from my hostel.
I only found out about the fair when I popped by Coles to get some food and wondered why my area was experiencing a gridlock of cars.
Curious, I walked up Francis Street to find out the cause of the gridlock when I saw a fair taking place.
A massive fair. Glebe Street Fair.
The event was advertised on flyers and posters previously and I saw the advertisement a few times. But since it was during exam week, I didn’t pay attention to the date of the fair and completely forgotten about it over the next few days.
So I was standing in the middle of a fair with throngs of people crowding around me and stalls after stalls lining the whole of Glebe Point Road. My trip to Coles abandoned, I decided to explore the fair and just soak in the atmosphere. Besides, the skies were clear, the sun was out, the weather was just right and I needed some time to de-stress from the exams.
The yellow road in the middle is Glebe Point Road, the location of Glebe Street Fair.
So what is the Glebe Street Fair? It is basically a major fair held every November and attracts over 100,000 people to the Glebe suburb. The Glebe Street Fair is currently in its 26th year (Source: http://www.glebestreetfair.com/).
I took a jaunt around Glebe Street Fair, enjoying all the sights and sounds. The stalls were selling an elective mix of homemade handcrafts, goods, paintings, photos, knick-knacks, fashion, hats and of course, food from different cultures. It was like a major flea market and a bigger version of the weekly Glebe Markets that is held in the same location.
Luckily I brought my camera along. Unfortunately, I was so caught up with all the sight-seeing that I only took a few photos.
The crowd at Glebe Street Fair. I like the guy’s white hat, very simple and classy. I plan to get one too.
After trundling along the whole length of Glebe Point Road, I came across a street performer who was just starting his routine:
This photo was taken halfway through the performance. I took a couple of videos of the street performer. I was lucky to get “front seats” as the guy was just starting and the crowd had not gathered yet. He was very, very entertaining and I stayed from start till end. The first two videos are pretty short about 2 to 3 minutes while the last one is 11 minutes. The videos cut off at some point because my arms got tired and I had to rest. Hey, the sun was strong that day!
This was taken during the beginning of his performance. Soon the crowd gathered and he became very enthusiastic. I like how he condoned off the area by pouring water, it is very mystical in a way, very hypnotizing. Or maybe because it was getting hot and I was dying for a drink.
I laughed when he saw me and shouted “Camera shot!”. He didn’t know that I was recording his show instead of taking pictures. The reason why the video cut off abruptly was because I accidentally pressed the shooting button and so the camera stopped recording.
The street performer pushing his body through a tennis racket. The video stopped because my arms got tired.
(The third video could not be uploaded because it was 11 minutes long and since it was over the 10 minutes limit, it got rejected. THANKS FOR WASTING MY TIME, YOUTUBE!)
This damn video took 24 hours to upload. Fucking Internet connection. FUCK Allegro.
Anyway, in the last video, it showed his last stunt, which consisted of him standing on top of a tall metal pole and getting a member of the audience to throw knifes, red balls and a spear at him. After he caught them all, he would proceed to juggle them while balancing on the pole.
One of his trademark is his high-pitched, nervous laughter and every time he did that, the crowded laughed along.
He has awesome tattoos, but I digress.
After that last performance, I contributed $3 to his piggy bank. The majority of the crowd did the same and I saw some people donating $50. But he was a good entertainer and provided a very good show despite being under the blazing sun.
I could have contributed more, but I’m a student living off my Dad at the moment.
I need a job real bad.
After the performance, I walked around the street when I chanced upon this store. It was at the far end of Glebe Point Street and I would have missed it if I was not paying attention because it was a small stall surrounded by people.
It is always my dream, ever since I started this hat hobby of mine, to own a Panama Hat. Not just any Panama Hat, it must be one that is made from Ecuadorian straw. A Panama Hat made from Ecuadorian straw is one of the strongest, most versatile and long lasting straw hat. Keep it in a good condition with the occasional cleaning and brushing, it can last for more than a decades, probably more.
So containing my excitement, I casually strolled up to the stall and gently picked up my object of desire. Just from the touch, I knew this was the real deal. It was strong but yet light and well made. Many times when I went into stores looking for straw hats, they felt flimsy and poorly made. The reason? They were made out of paper and masqueraded as straw hats.
I have nothing against these hats but when I get a hat, I want it to last me for a long period, probably decades, if possible, a family heirloom. Just imagine: “And now, the forty odd fedoras, caps, hats and headgears from Zareth, who left this behind as his legacy and heirloom.”
I examined the hat carefully and turned it around to examine the sweatband inside when I noticed a small plastic thing attached to the hat and on it there was a tag stating:
“The pinch of the hat has been reinforced.”
What is the “pinch”? Well, the pinch refers to the front crown of the hat that gives its distinctive “V” shape. What workmanship! Some people dislike having their pinch reinforce because they like to reshape their hat shape but for me, I prefer to have my pinch reinforced so it doesn’t goes out of shape. Furthermore, it is my first time seeing a reinforced pinch.
Another tag was attached to the back of the hat and it stated that the hat was made from 100% Ecuadorian straw. Sweet, sweet luck.
One of the owners of the stall was a genial, old man, probably in his late 60s or early 70s. He stood near me smiling as I examined all the hats. With a smile, I approached him and struck a conversation:
Me: “Are these hats really made from Ecuadorian straw?”
Genial, Old Man: “Yes, it is. The straw comes from Ecuador and the hat is shaped in Australia. 100% of the material are from Ecuadorian straw.”
Me: “Wow, I’ve heard that Panama Hats made from Ecuadorian straw are fantastic hats and can last for a long time.”
GOM: “Yes, just a bit of cleaning and proper storage, you have a hat that last you for decades.”
Me: (Admiring the hats) “They’re really beautiful hats, a piece of workmanship.”
GOM: “Hahaha, yes they are.”
I was still staring wistfully at the hats and contemplating whether to buy a hat. Coincidentally, I was wearing my favourite seagrass straw hat (made in China) when making the decision.
Me: “So how much for a hat?”
GOM: (Without missing a beat) $120 for one.
Me: “Wow” (This was said more in shock than in awe).
I was torn now. To spend $120 on a hat and risk the scorn of my parents who will chastise me for unnecessary spending or to spend $120 and know in my knowledge that I made a wise “investment”?
To spend or not to spend.
Finally, I made the painful decision not to buy the hat, so I asked the Genial, Old Man if I could take a picture as a memento and he just smiled and waved his hand in agreement.
If I was still working and it was my own money, I would have brought it at a drop of my hat.
Since I was at the last end of Glebe Point Road, I walked back to my original starting point and along the way, saw this store selling nothing but hats. Deciding to try my luck to find a proper straw hat, I went in and started searching for one, until I saw this hat:
100% Wool. It’s a bit small for my head but since its wool it can be stretched slightly. I like the headband around the crown of the hat, it has a white outline with a thin red line in the middle. Better still is the inside of the head. It has a satin material and is in tartan patterns. Very, very comfortable when I wear it, although it does has the tendency to slowly slip towards the back of my head. It is my new favourite fedora and I have been wearing it almost everywhere.
By now, I was hungry so I stopped by to buy some snack called churros. It’s a Spanish snack that is consisted of fried dough and sprinkled with sugar. It looks similar to a Singaporean/Malaysian fried pastry called goreng pisang which consist of banana covered in flour and fried in oil.
But the taste of churros is completely different from goreng pisang. When I took my first bite, I went into sugar heaven. I have a very sweet tooth and so finding this snack was like finding an elixir. It helped that the woman sprinkled a generous amount of sugar before passing the churros to me.
The stall was selling 5 churro sticks for $3. I ate four before I stopped myself to take a picture of the last one. It was that good.
By now, the Street Fair was winding down and some stalls were packing up. I decided to head back home when I saw this stall that was manned by three Asian people, offering body art, specifically, tattoos.
I’ve always wanted a tattoo, not because it look cool (well, that would be one reason) but because since young, I’ve always like to draw on my body, be it using pen, pencil, colour pencil or crayon. I still have the habit of writing down notes on my palms even though I have a notepad on me.
There was a wide poster on the stall’s table displaying the tattoo designs and the price of the tattoos. While taking a look at all the designs, I struck up a conversation with one of the stall people. It went something like this:
Me: “So, how big is a tattoo design?”
Stall Guy 1: (Pointing to a tattoo design) “The size of the tattoo is written beside it.”
True enough, there was a “(S)” beside the design he pointed out, denoting the tattoo as a small tattoo. But then it still didn’t help me to gauge the size of the design.
Me: “So, how big is a small tattoo?”
Stall Guy 1: (Separating his index finger and thumb by a few centimetres) “About this big”
Talk about double entendres.
Me: “OK… I’m thinking of getting this Chinese character as a tattoo.”
Stall Guy 1: “Yeah, that is very nice. I’ll recommend you getting it.”
Stall Guy 1: “Yeah, I got one myself not too long ago.”
Me: “You know, if you combine that Chinese character with another one, you get the word ‘ninja’ ”
Stall Guy 1: “Really? I didn’t know that.”
Me: “Yeah man, just imagine adding another Chinese character, that’ll be so cool.”
Stall Guy 1: “So you want get another tattoo? But with the second character?”
Me: “Nah… I’m just saying, you know. I think I’ll just get that first character.”
Stall Guy 1: “Hahaha, ok, just go up to that guy over there and tell him what tattoo you want.”
This is just a gist of the conversation we had. Anyway, I went up to Stall Guy 2 and told him the tattoo design I wanted. He went through a small box and pulled out a prefabricated card that had the design cut out of it.
The Stall Girl, who was doing most of the tattooing was busy at that moment, so I munched on my churros and waited for my turn. When she finished tattooing the previous customer, I went up to her, gave her my tattoo design and sat down to wait for her to prepare the equipment.
She was very cute.
Stall Girl asked me where I wanted my tattoo so I pointed at my left wrist. Laying my wrist across the table, Stall Girl pressed the card against my hand, shifting it around to make sure that she had enough skin to tattoo on. Just before she picked up the equipment, she paused and looked at me before looking back at the card. Meanwhile, Stall Guy 1 came up and leaned across the table, watching the whole procedure.
She did the same procedure a few more times, giving both the card and me quick glances before I finally caught on with her message.
Me: “I’ll like the tattoo facing downwards” (Meaning the position of the tattoo to face towards my hand).
Stall Guy 1: “Hahaha, so you want to show people that you have patience?”
Stall Girl and I laughed at his joke. Stall Girl readjusted the card, swabbed my skin with alcohol, picked up the equipment and started tattooing my wrist.
This is not a real tattoo. It is just an airbrush tattoo, meaning that it was air painted onto my wrist. It looks very real and can last for up to a week.
Mine lasted six days, due to me working out and the paintball event (which induced sweating, causing the tattoo to fade).
But it felt awesome to have walk around spotting one on my wrist. When I met up with H and his female friend for dinner at Chinatown afterwards, he grabbed hold of my wrist and thought it was real, until I told him it was just an airbrushed tattoo.
For the first two days, I was fascinated with my tattoo and kept wondering how an airbrushed tattoo could look so real and cashiers would always give me a second look whenever I paid up or took my stuff from them.
By the third day, I was bored with it.
By the fourth day, I was so used to having a tattoo and didn’t even think about it. The only time I was reminded of the tattoo was when I was handling anything with my left hand.
By the fifth day, parts of my skin started show through.
By the sixth day, due to the paintball event, my sweat and the chafing of the overalls against my wrist caused half the tattoo to disappear.
By the seventh day, most of the tattoo was gone.
Now, I kind of miss having the tattoo on my wrist. I plan to get a real one on my wrist, not the exact same design but something like it.
That Sunday was very eventful: an afternoon stroll in the street fair followed by dinner with H and his female friend. I enjoyed the afternoon at Glebe Street Fair and would definitely go back to next year’s Glebe Street Fair. Meanwhile, I can entertain myself at Glebe Markets that is held every Saturday.
Now for one of the most abused, recycled slogans:
Contribution to performer: $3
Wool Fedora: $39
Dinner with H and female friend: $10
A very enjoyable Sunday: PRICELESS
On another side note, I found a British shop selling British sweets, chocolates, foodstuffs and toys. Should bring my younger sister there since she loves almost everything British.
Song of the day:
Another song from Tegan and Sarah. I can just watch Tegan’s facial expression all day long. So, damn hypnotizing.