Thursday, August 03, 2006

Top Ten.....Number 3

Number 3 on our list is important for several reasons: First, it offers an environment far different than our immediate surroundings of malls and 6-lane intersections with no light- second, it presents many unique and colorful photographic opportunities- third, it gets us some special, up-close, face-to-face encounters with very friendly locals. We're talking about

Street Markets, Bazzaars and Craftshops

We've gotten pretty good at bargaining (with or without calculators, like at the Hong Kong night market), and have gotten some great deals on some really amazing artwork, jewelry, clothing, accessories and wood carvings. But in addition to getting great baragins, these are places of eye (and mind) opening education about a foreign way of life.

Places like Green Hills (not the regular mall part- the other part), Tiendesitas and the Women's Bazaar are great for seeing authentic handicrafts and artwork, but definatly geared toward a tourist or ex-pat target audience. Other places like the wet market, street markets and Quiapo are windows into no-frills, everyday life of millions of Filipino's.

A short walk from our front door takes you into a whole world of freshly chopped and shaven coconuts, mounds of fruits and vegetables, every imaginable cut of meat hanging from hooks as well as wooden bins full of a dozen varieties of rice. Next to all that, all manner of dishes are being cooked, fried, barbequed and roasted on each side of the street while dogs, cats, chickens and children all run around and underfoot. Household good are also sold, many times out of tricycles, loaded beyond capacity.

Everybody wants their picture taken. From the guy delivering rice to a family running a store out of their house, to the group of schoolkids- they all love to be photographed and always say "Thank you!" afterwards. I always make sure to express my thanks as well and often let them check out their pictures on my camera's LCD screen, which always gives them a big laugh. People always want to know where I'm from, and then proceed to share whatever knowledge they have about the U.S.A., or a story about a family member or friend who lives there.

These are the kinds of places that really show the true nature and character of the Philippine people and it's always so enlightening and interesting to walk through them (even if I do come home smelling like a fishing boat!). A heart-felt "Thank You!" to all who we came in contact with for sharing a slice of their lives with us and for providing us with new perspectives on the world we inhabit.


At 9:36 PM, Blogger Dad said...

What a great tribute in words and pictures to your host country and the many people you met while you were there


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