Recently in Rome, I wandered through what could have been a romantic piazza. The twilight sky was perfect...for sales. Guys from Africa launched their plastic florescent whirlybirds high into the sky. Then my attention was hijacked by the splat of a plastic goop doll hitting a board at my feet. The round creature became a flat mess, and then slowly, creepily reconstituted itself -- ready for another brutal slam.
There were souvenir hustlers everywhere I looked. Each year, there's a silly new street-trinket hit sold all over town. Cheap little tripods have long been popular, but now the street hustlers have shifted their focus to selfie sticks. And what about those little 2-D puppets that "magically" dance next to a boom box on big-city sidewalks?
These crazy gimmicks (which somehow keep illegal African immigrants from starving) make me wish I had bought all the goofy things people have sold on the streets of Rome over the years -- from the flaming Manneken-Pis cigarette lighters to the five-foot-tall inflatable bouncing cigars to the twin magnets that jitter like crickets when you toss them in the air -- and made a museum.
Share your thoughts, insights, and photos on the crazy things people from faraway lands sell on the streets of Europe.