A car boot sale, as the name implies, is where people sell stuff from the boot of their car. These markets happen all up and down the coast, with the largest one held at the fairgrounds in Fuengirola. This weekend we decided to check it out, driving down to the coast with empty bags, spare euros and finder instincts sharpened for the hunt. Living in LA, I used to love ‘junking’ at the Rose Bowl flea market and living in Paris, I used to explore the Porte de Clignancourt flea market weekly, so I was keen to check out what this car boot business was all about.
We had no problems in finding the area, as hordes of people were making the same pilgrimage as us. From the entrance gate there are stalls as far as the eye can see, crammed with buyers, sellers and general hustlers. We had been warned about pick pockets, so we put our backpacks to our fronts, ready to face the masses.
The market, an RV-park version of a flea market, was apparently started by expats wanting to sell off their unwanted stuff to newly arrived expats looking to fill their homes. Spanish generally do not sell used things, nor will they line up to buy them. Traditionally, they inherit used items by default and instead of selling them they pass them onto other family members. In fact, one old man in my husband’s wood carving class has 3 pianos, and he is neither Elton John nor Liberace. In fact, he probably doesn’t play a note…
The majority of sellers seemed British, with North Africans as a close second. Yet, there were also lots of sun-damaged Northern Europeans flaunting their brass wares and Russians selling synthetic outfits with somber faces. The best deals were offered by the locals, selling fresh fruits and vegetables from heaping wheelbarrows.
The coast tends to bring out the ugly expat material and the market skims the bottom, which of course makes for excellent people-watching! Anyone desiring to meet the world’s oldest teenager, a 70-year-old in a worn leopard outfit and platinum wig, this is the place. Likewise, those in need of a cartload of used electric chargers of any type and breed, here you have it. From the first tables that actually had some ‘antiques’ there were rows upon rows of tables selling pirated CDs, abused toys, hideous 1980’s condo furniture, WW2 and Franco paraphernalia, clothes with or without moth balls. The further back we got, the more trashy it got. But you know what they say; someone’s trash is another person’s treasure…
Passing a UK couple snapping hateful comments at each other in between addressing their buyers in the sweetest of tones, we felt it was time to go. But alas, the best was yet to come. Appearing in front of us was a couple that looked like Sunny and Cher – 37 years later, dressed for the part, selling tie-died skirts and macramé from the boot of their caravan.
We left the market 3 euros poorer, hugging our loot (4 avocados and 3 pocket books), happily knowing that Sunny and Cher may once again rise from the ashes of fame at some lugubrious club on the Costa del Sol.