Oh, how I love flea markets. Some of my favorite souvenirs are from the flea markets I’ve visited in my travels – namely Paris, Berlin, and Brooklyn. I enjoy strolling through the vendors and discovering one-of-a-kind items to bring home. The opportunities to people watch and score some gems (without the sales pressure) are endless at flea markets. J and I got up early to check out the De Anza Flea Market in Cupertino on the first Saturday of last month. While this flea market stays open until the early afternoon, we opted to get there at 7:30AM for the ease of parking and to beat the crowds before it gets too hot.
My first impression – this market is huge. There are rows of vendors with their well-mixed booths, of which you can find both the new and old. The “new” ranges from tools to clothing, similar to what one might find in Asian night markets. On the other hand, even within the “old” (great for those of us who love to hunt), there is a good variety of styles. At some booths, you will find items just as you would at a garage sale, but you may discover theme-based booths from shabby-chic furniture to vintage kitchenware.
One of our favorites was a booth full of well-maintained and seasoned cast-iron skillets in all sizes, purposing from frying an egg for breakfast to doing a pot roast. (In case you didn’t assume already, we are minimalistic about everything but kitchen items. Hey, cast-iron skillets can last forever, you know.) We had to remind ourselves that we’d just received a gorgeous pre-seasoned cast-iron at our wedding shower and that we did not need another one urgently. We dragged ourselves away from the booth.
We were pretty proud about the fact that we were walking around freely and empty-handed (in other words, not giving into any shopping spree desire) until I spotted a Polaroid Land Camera 350 in a pile of old electronics, decorations, books, and CDs. While it’s common to see vintage cameras at flea markets, one is more likely to find cameras with broken light seals, mold, or scratches on the glass. Typically, they require quite a bit of repair and cleaning efforts before making into one’s gear, decoration, or collections, but not the case for this 350. While the practical side of me battled through rationales against purchasing yet another camera, J gracefully picked it up and paid for the steal. Thirty dollars for a 350 in a good condition with its box, flash, and manual – nothing comes close to beat that.
So we left the market with a beautiful Land camera around my shoulder. Our friends met us at the parking lot with a couple pots of succulent plants (there is a row of vendors dedicated to cacti, orchids, and fruit trees) and frames. It was just the right time to get some dim sum for lunch.
De Anza Flea Market 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA First Saturdays of every month (~7:30AM-2:00PM) Parking: $5. (Free if you are willing to walk a couple of blocks for street parking off the main road.)