Saturday, October 24, 2009

Some Goombay People

I like Goombay, it's one of my favorite street festivals in the year. And though it is supposed to be a festival of the Bahamas and the Caribbean the food has rather more broad cultural roots:I don't care for the arts and crafts so much but I do enjoy strolling Petronia Street from Duval to Emma and just checking out the scene:There's music:Key West's finest make their presence known but remember we are in small town America and this is community policing:Dogs are welcome:Bandannas are okay also, and pineapples and kebabs are definitely right for the time and place:
Arepas are delicious Colombian sandwiches made of corn meal, shaped into a circle, fried and covered in cheese and a second slice of fried corn meal. If you see an arepa offered and don't eat one you failing to live life to the fullest:I would call it "cheese" but the sweet corn and savory cheese patty looks like this. When my wife and I sailed to Colombia a decade ago I used to walk the dogs each morning along the beach on the island of San Andres and I would buy a breakfast of an arepa and a classic weak cup of Colombian coffee from a vendor's cart on the waterfront. For some reason Colombians like their coffee sweet and weak (rather like me). Their arepas are sturdy and filling:And after you've looked at the crafts and eaten some food you end up watching the ebb and flow of people on Petronia Street:
And there's another cop being helpful. Wait a minute that's Donie Lee, also known as the Chief, just being out and about and meeting the citizens and walking the beat.Last year Bill from Buffalo (NY) waylaid me on the street. He had read the blog for a while and expected to find me at Goombay last year. That he did shocked me but this year we made it easier by meeting ahead of time. I had to go to work so I watched him order beer and he said it tasted good. Good enough that with one in each hand he didn't feel self-conscious about standing around holding his wife's handbag:There may have been more humans than usual at Baptist Lane and Petronia Street but that was no cause for alarm among the permanent inhabitants:
I got a shock when Bill suggested we order some alligator meat from the Louisiana food stand. My wife and I opted immediately for some crawdad puffs (spicy Conch fritters essentially) while Bill and Diana went straight for the fried alligator kebabs.
Oh well, I thought, it's time I tried alligator. This is an actual picture of me wrastling alligator meat into my digestive system for the first time ever.
The texture of the meat was actually very like chicken (which was a relief, I was afraid it might feel slippery like shark which I find disagreeable) and the batter was delicious. It made me feel odd, eating dinosaur even though it was quite tasty. But I soon got to take my mind off it with some more people watching:
Oh, and guess what, there were some street closures downtown for the festival which continues today.
And this time next week it will be the final night of Fantasy Fest but I'd much rather be at Goombay.