Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Floh Markt : the cold sunday and hot glue-wine

The Flea market or floh-markt is held on every weekend when all other shops and malls are shut. This last weekend we visited a really amazing flea market in Mauer park.

 "Established in 2004, the Flea Market Mauerpark is a newcomer to the ranks of Berlin's fleamarkets (located next to the Wall Park (Mauerpark) in Prenzlauer Berg) hasn't made it into the guidebooks yet - it still has quite a local feel and a variety of interesting stuff. It's also where Prenzlauer Berg's fast rotating population goes to divest itself of unwanted stuff - you might find some useful things if you're just setting up home.
The market is located near to the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Stadion M10 tram stop (formerly Oderberger Straße) and is a short but pleasant walk from the U2's Eberswalder Straße (Station). The market is located next to the Mauerpark, not in it."

We were a strange group of friends- two Indians, a polish upcoming artist student, a Hungarian girl studying international relations and a maltese girl doing psychology and face painting. The artist and the facepainter wanted to try to sell their skills at a stall so we headed off early in the cold cold morning. We were going to help them and also look at the floh markt from the seller's side. Guess what? I had my face painted the night before!! One side was the dark masked peacock lady and the other side was the flower (Blumen) fairy.Like an ad for my friend I wore my two faces the whole of Sunday!! As soon as I walked in, I got photographed so I may show up in some vague gallery of prize winning photographs or face book photo album of some teenage tourist.

After a quick search for empty stall we claimed an empty table and set up. We were mostly waiting for people to come and have fun.( we made only 50 cents profit from painting a bear-face for a kid). We took turns walking around the market which despite the bitter cold was doing thriving business with knicks-knacks.

Bicycle parts, chinese goods, old furniture, foodstalls, used clothing, baby things, kettles Iron boxes, used suitcases. Students selling off thier stuff before they left home. Bunch of students playing music and selling hand made jewelry and also coats shawls and everything.

Old LP records, a boomerang, a CCCP pocket watch, animal fur!,hats jackets, junk jewels, purses all on the same table!  It was Karol Bagh all the way. I had my first taste of glue-wine which is hot wine spiced with cinnamon and other good things for the cold.
For more on glue wine try this blog..

 The flea market is for bargaining and we had to haggle for prices. It was fun showing fingers to communicate.Three euroes !!! and the shopkeeper holds up three fingers. I put up two. "No two", says me. "AAAh, I am not so rich," he says in German. "I come from India ," says me. "Two and fifty." " I have just two euros today!" and as I walk away he says, "okay okay for you, I give two euroes.." and I walk away with trinkets worth two euroes...

 You have to really hunt for good stuff and if you are lucky you may find a very good bargain and get an old Dresden ceramic mug for two euros that may cost you 20euros in a showroom. or Just find that old soviet block communist- minted coins that may add to your coin collection.

We quickly packed up as it was clear people at this place were more utilitarian in purpose. There were not many touristy people and the cold was keeping the kids who wanted their faces painted.And our feet froze inside the shoes and being our first time we had no chairs. We stomped around drinking hot chai and glue-wine and calling to people to look at the great paintings and have their face painted with a flower.

The most fun was walking around with face paint. a hundred people in bus stops stations and trains smiled at me. And I smiled back. I really warmed up the city this adventure.

It's hard to write and express the fun of going out in a group, joking and laughing together, sharing in face painting ( the artist was  tiger-painted) missing our stop and tracing back our route. As  I remarked at the end of the day, we did seem like the UN, with so many nationalities between us. As I walked out I saw this cute electric with its body painted and strangely felt connected to it as both of us had some paint on our skin. ( Heh Heh)

PS: I will update this blog with the face painted photos once I have them from my friend's camera. Till then, look at the flea market shots.


gayatri said...

As always, you transport me to a different time and space...thank you for sharing this.

Meanwhile, can't wait to see your 'two faces'!! lol

Have fun! And keep blogging! :)

indira said...

hey Basanti's german friend Hans eh? Hmm and were you part of the fall of the wall celebrations? waiting for ur next blog!

lakshmi said...

felt I was there walking in the Flea market ...good work - what fun! Enjoy.