The Fair - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 13, 2019

The Fair

Windup toys for sale
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I've only rarely gone to a fair in China on purpose. And those times that it was on purpose, it was less a case of my "going to the fair" and more of a case of my going to something else that happened to coincide with the fair like Junpo Festival or the end of the 7th Stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake.

They tracked me down and wanted to get a copy of the photo. Then they didn't like it and wanted to pay me to retake it.
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The ears can be made to wiggle with controls in the dangling bits.
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The fair—whether it's a temple fair, a holiday fair, or just a market fair—is pretty similar to a small county fair in the US. Perhaps a few less 4H type livestock shows, a few more dodgy gambling games that don't even pretend to be anything else, but it's definitely the fair.

Fried rice cakes
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The stuff for sale will range from "overstock, overstock, overstocked brand name clothes, factory direct, brand names you know, overstock" that you "absolutely shouldn't miss, because walking past would be a crying shame" that not only came with a script for sellers but, in recent years, came with a sound system and a recording of the same man selling "brands you know, brands you know, direct from the factory, all overstock of brands you know" to useful tools, as seen on TV quality gimmicks, and fair food.

Yeah, I don't know either
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Marian RosenbergBest guess is that it's somehow related to bahuoguan [拔火罐] or cupping except that most of the places that the cup-like things are are places where you wouldn't be able to get suction to stick.
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1 month ago
Assorted nuts
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There is almost never anything local or unique or special at the fair. Those sorts of goods are for events that have tourist boards and business development teams involved; where people buy their booth a month in advance; where advertising is a thing; where the vendors will be sleeping indoors at night.

Snake infused medicinal alcohol
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The fair has cotton candy, puffed wheat snacks, caramel corn, those things that can be cheaply made in bulk but which are a pain to ever make at home. Today's fair also has two places with Xinjiang style lamb kebabs (one stall operated by real Uyghurs), five with "waterless" cake, and more places selling "Chairman Mao's favorite" Changsha Stinky Tofu than I can count.

Meat onna stick
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Pure cotton bedding and curtains. The man on the ladder is watching for thieves.
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There are two inflatable slide bounce castles, a number of trampolines with child sized harnesses to keep them on bouncing the correct way, a very miniature roller coaster, and two merry go rounds.

It's a big fair.

Trampoline and merry go round
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Distracting a child with a phone
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There are shoes and underwear and Chinglish sloganned shirts, ice cream, balloons, and all sorts of games of chance ranging from the dodgy three cup gamblers setting up by the side of the road for mere minutes at a time to ball throw and the ring toss with prizes ranging from oversized stuffed animals to poodles.

Ring toss with moving targets
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This is the second goose this guy has won
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A brave teenager who approaches me to ask me in English where I'm from and then, in awed Chinese, how I knew about the Fair being today, is how I find out that today's fair is a Fair, is a yearly event. When I realize that I've passed by three of the four lodging options with one clearly closed and the other two completely invisible in the noise and muchiness of the Fair, I'm sorely tempted to go on another 5km to the next town.

Balloons for sale
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One of two tattoo booths that I saw
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However, that fourth place still has rooms for tonight and even if it's a shade on the pricey side for the conditions, it'll mean getting to go back out to walk the streets of the fair while searching for dinner and that seems like a fine trade-off. (If I had been sensible enough to dig out an Aleve, it might even have been a great idea.)

Walnuts
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Musical instruments
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Nervously clutching my phone and my camera, room key tucked inside my shorts, and on a paranoia watch for pickpockets in a crowd that seems made to order specifically for pickpockets and snatch and grabs, I still have an excellent time. The ring toss in particular is like nothing I've ever seen and I finally finally finally have a decent camera again.

More balloons
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Image not found :(
Ice cream vendor
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Now, instead of not bothering with photos cause my camera just won't be able to take more than snaps, I am instead able to wish for more zoom or more wide angle.

When I get back to my hotel, I'm exhausted and footsore. It helps that I started that way but only slightly.

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Jeff PoretskyInterestingly enough, Montgomery County has banned the harness trampolines.
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1 month ago
Marian RosenbergTo Jeff PoretskyI wonder, are the harnesses more dangerous or are they more likely to cause injury because people use them wrong?
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1 month ago