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Tag Archives: Dive bar

EXPAT MOMENTS: Unravelling the enigma of American fireworks booths

Another post in our series focusing on little moments or images of expat experience.

Like a fungal spore, they appeared unannounced one morning about four weeks ago. Every parking lot in town had one — a single compact wooden booth covered in brightly colored posters.

Inside each of these booth, sweating in the summer heat, sat a vendor surrounded by merchandise – box upon box of fireworks. The vendor lists off the inventory, the names sounding more like dive-bar cocktails than pyrotechnics: Shagadellic Mojos; Fiery Frogs; Round Red Dahlias; Falcons Rising; Dragons’s Tears.

Over the next few weeks, I learn two things about these booths. First, that each booth has been set up by local group, that depending which booth you choose you are, in fact, deciding which school or church or local charity you want to help raise funds for. I calculate that there must be around 200 of these booths around town. That is a lot of local groups and non-profits and yet my response is an apathetic one, the response of a man who feels untethered to this community, who has no cause here he wants to endorse and support. The second thing I learn, from those who cast me a conspiratorial glance, is that I don’t want to waste my time with these booths. They know a man. He has “stuff” from Mexico. It’ll blow your mind, and possibly your arm — Shagadellic Mojos these ain’t.

And then, a week or so after July 4th and just as quickly as they appeared, one morning you wake and the booths have gone. 

STAY TUNED for next Monday’s post – a round up of Olympics books.

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