Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Rudolph the sun burned reindeer
One of the things that made us feel at home in Strasbourg was when we realized that the merchants in the Palais Rohan farmer’s market were recognizing us from week to week – just as they were a part of our lives, we had, through our patronage – become a part of theirs. It really made us feel that we were a part of the city.
So we were delighted to discover that Los Angeles has similar outdoor markets as well. There are four that we’ve been to so far, but our favourite is also the closest. It’s small: tucked into a parking lot of the local library, and there isn’t a lot of variety in the stalls.
The highlight, as far as I am concerned, is the “food court” area, where merchants sell crêpes, tamales and – my favourite – really excellent coffee. Though I’ve cut back considerably on my coffee intake, the West LA Farmers’ Market coffee-pusher sells the best brew I’ve ever had. Given his perpetual vibration, he clearly stands behind his product.
The market is a real neighbourhood hangout – there are activity tables for the kids, locals selling their handicrafts, and tables for people to enjoy their snacks. Best of all, there’s a stage, occupied every week by a resident DJ who keeps the mellow reggae tunes pumping.
There are also local bands that come to play as well. This week was a Hawaiin ensemble, strumming island-tinged Christmas tunes on their ukuleles for an appreciative crowd. Even better, the musicians were joined onstage by hulu-dancers in training, ranging from age 6 to 60.
I suppose this is what Christmas looks like in a place where the lyrics to “Let it snow” are purely theoretical.