satyapriya: Macchu Picchu 2009 (Default)
Big Vegan Market. Hah, I thought. If it's anything like the original Conscious Living expos, then there will be perhaps twenty stalls in the massive hall of the Royal Exhibition Building. I'll whip around it in twenty minutes and think it not worth the $2 entry.
I hopped off the train at Parliament, and straggled up to Nicholson St. From there, a short walk to the REB. A little sunny, cool, and lo and behold, about a dozen people walking that way too. Probably on their way to hipster shopping in Collingwood, or visiting people in St Vincent's Hospital. Wrong. As I walked through the REB gardens, people were converging like iron filings dragging towards a magnet.
Please all be going to the Museum, I thought.
They weren't.
Mind you, two young lasses were a few steps behind me, and suddenly the taller one said: "I can't go in there. I did my VCE exams in there!"
{"We can't stop here. This is bat country."}
"That was four years ago."
"I don't care. I can't go in there. Let's go to the Museum."
And so, the larger girl deviated towards the museum, and the smaller girl trailed in her wake, shooting longing looks at the REB.
A few groups of young people had spread out picnic blankets in the gardens, and were scoffing brown cardboard boxes of vegan food. As I neared the entrance, I saw that one group were doing 'rock paper scissors' to decide who should get up, pay $2 and go in to the market for more food, and another couple of six packs of vegan beer. A tall, thin, bearded young man lost, and unfolded himself.
"More lollies!" yelled one of the girls.
He lined up just in front of me, and the line moved quickly into the hall. The front part of the hall was full of vendors, and the back section taken up with food stalls of all sorts. All were busy and had lines. It was midday.
I headed straight for a vegie burger, as I didn't want to shop on an empty stomach. I was offered a seat at a table with a young woman and her two year old son, Rio. Daddy had gone to hunt for more food, and wouldn't be back for a while. Rio said his name was 'nothing' and that he was 'nothing' years old. He liked 'nothing', and Mummy, Daddy, and I were all naughty.
He sucked on his sippy cup of water for a while, and then took an interest in my lunch. He nicked some lettuce, and a piece of tomato. I gave him some more lettuce, and the fally-outy bits of my burger. This was better than his own lunch.
I've always maintained that if I opened a restaurant, I'd call it "Satya's Food", because my own kids, my grandkids, and strangers' kids all find my food fascinating, and worth eating. I can't count the number of times a small person has helped themselves to my food. (Just this morning, at the Pancake Parlour, FirstGrandson ignored his silver dollar pancakes in favour of the strawberries on my breakfast, and my own pancakes, while SecondGrandson had a sip of my lukewarm ginger tea)
Leaving Rio to the dregs of my (rather tasteless and soggy) lunch, I ventured into the scrum of the market. I am deprogramming myself these days of LoafAbout's old instructions for the Zoo. "Go left and keep left". I turned right, and started wandering the aisles.
I examined some pretty cool looking faux-leather jackets made by Raised By Wolves, and got into conversation with a very tough-looking bikie sort, and his tough bikie wife. He was tall, fat, with an epic frizzy grey beard, tattoos all over everywhere visible, worn blue jeans, a few chains, and looked like he'd start a rumble in a butcher's shop. He and the wife had been vegan for fifteen years, and were all over the jackets like a rash. They were also stocking up on barbecue items for the many BBQ's their bike club held. Yes, they copped shit for it. No, they no longer cared. Big bikie was asking about the road durability of the jackets when I left.
Next up, I found the vegan version of Converse runners, and will be ordering a red pair, for cosplay (and coolness). With red faux-Converse that are more comfy than real Converse, and cheaper, I can cosplay Misty from Pokémon (fat, middle-aged Misty), and Rose Tyler from Dr Who.
When I explained what I needed the red shoes for, the woman fitting me gave me a very long look.
I bounced around various skin care, food, and chocolate stalls. Every woman and her vegetarian pet is making raw chocolate these days. Some of it's pretty darned good. Some of it is packaged skunk poo. I ate it all. Small toothpick-worthy amounts that likely added up to a couple of lines of Cadbury. I felt very full.
Boy, do vegans love their coffee, and their desserts. Everywhere, sweet desserts of all sorts. Cakes, chocolate, cake mixes, brownies, mousse, friands, dried fruit teas. Nearly all of it gluten-free.
I restrained myself mightily, because I simply didn't feel like gutsing. I knew I'd feel lousy later. I had one cupcake, which wasn't so exciting, and that was my dessert.
A lady scrubbed one of my hands with coffee grounds, and pronounced it 'youthified', when all she'd done was scrape off my hand moisturiser. I asked if she'd do the other hand so they matched. She said one hand only per customer. I continued, with one coffee-smelling fresh clean hand, and one rose-scented ordinary hand.
A surprising amount of vegans were crowded around the 'bowel cleansing' kit stall. I would have thought all those vegies would be cleansing enough, but some vegans prefer to be whistle-clean, inside and out.
And who knew there were so many vegans in Melbourne? I suspect some weren't vegans. Shock, horror! I suspect some were mere Melbourne foodies, come along to scarf down food, eat free samples, and buy their fairtrade coffee beans. If Melbourne really had this many vegans, then there should be a LOT more restaurants opening. Hint, hint, Melbourne chefs.
And by the way, not everyone loves a tofu scramble. Fuck off with that.
I had just escaped from the clutches of a Multi-Level-Marketing Official Pushy Person when I felt that someone was weirdly close to me. I felt their aura, and then, over my shoulder: "You've put on weight."
Ugh! It was XP, the guy who dumped me nine years ago. I'd intuited he might be at this market, but thought I was simply being paranoid. No. Here he was. I just stared at him, thinking: "Fuck off, baldy."
Then he said: "I see you're here on your own."
Now, XP has never quite believed that I remarried. He's seen PizzaBoy and I together a few times at various things, but more often, as seen me gadding about The Glen, or the Mind Body Spirit festival on my own. Believe it or not, PB and I are not conjoined twins.
So, the implication was, here, that I'm not really married, that PB has likely dumped me, or was a flash in the pan thing.
Normally, I don't know what to say in these situations, but this time, the movie 'Madagascar' came to my rescue.
"I killed my husband and ate his liver."
Result: XP stared for a few seconds, then just turnd his back.
Meanwhile, a woman who has eavesdropped, stared at me with a 'you know this is a VEGAN market, meat-eater' look in her eyes.
My response has kept me happy and warm for over 24 hours now.
I was a bit discombobulated after the XP encounter, and had just about had enough of the market crowds anyway. I popped back quickly to say hello to the lady who runs the Gluten Freegan stall, usually at St Andrew's market. She was looking rather frazzled, and said it had been crazy all day. I comforted by saying that she had the best looking desserts in the joint. And she did.
As I left, the line for the atm machine, and the lines for the toilets were too long, so I took to the open air, just in time to see another member of the hipster picnickers return with yet more food, and two more six packs. They were a very happy bunch of hipster students, and were starting to loll like seals, despite the lack of sunshine.
I had my little bag of goodies, and a few contact business cards. There was a lady vegan nutritionist I want to talk to, and there's those red shoes to order online.
A worthwhile outing, even if I was a bit shaky, and tired, and over-peopled afterwards. I needed light food, and a hot bath when I got home, and an early night.
Will I go next year? Quite likely, but I'll make sure I'm there for the opening time of 10am, and do some homework beforehand, so I know which stalls to visit. I'll also take a bottle of water, and a keep cup for fresh tea.
And possibly elbow pads for shoving mobs of vegans out of the way.


satyapriya: Macchu Picchu 2009 (Default)

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