Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Exploring Putzu


Sunday, New Year’s Day, was a very pleasant sunny day. Don and I, Donnie and Mike went for another ride into Putzu. We thought this time we would park the car before we got into the traffic jam like the other night and then walk into the market area. We were pleasantly surprised that there was very little traffic, so Don continued on. Too far…suddenly from nowhere, there were the same cars, trucks, bicycles, carts, and pedestrians as there were Fri. night. Luckily, someone was pulling out of a “parking” spot and Don was able to pull right in behind him.

We began to walk down to the street where it was obvious the market was. There was shack upon shack with every kind of wares one could think of with people walking, biking and scootering in and out and around. Suddenly, a scooter turned in front of us and disappeared into a maze of “shops.” We decided to follow. We found ourselves in the actual heart of the market. The stalls were so close to each other that no sun could get through between their ram-shackled roofs. In this labyrinth, people were selling fruit, fresh slabs of meat, fish, vegetables, clothes, purses, and shoes. A butcher was hacking up chickens. They were selling china and silverware, belts, coats, hats, household items and supplies. This place was a Mexican market on steroids!

The fish monger at the market.

The happy chicken butcher; very common for Taiwanese to flash the "peace" sign when having their picture taken.

The jewelry maker at the market

The vegetable sellers outside the market

We left the market and bought fruit at a much nicer fruit stand down the block in a better shopping area. All the fruit was washed and displayed by its kind in rows with individual bags to put them in like any grocery store. We bought bananas, apples, grapes and pears.

We then walked on to shops along the street that again were selling anything one would want. Had we not been in the “real” market first, we would have thought this to be an exotic experience, but now it appeared somewhat tame and normal. Yikes, that’s saying something about what the human mind can do by comparing! Everything’s relative!

We spent some time in a very fun store that was obviously an educational store…”teacher store” in Don’s terminology. It was full of “cool” stuff including many 3M products. We walked by many dress stores and shoe stores. I tried on a fall coat that I was tempted to buy but decided to wait. FYI It fit perfectly! It was an XL!

After our day of shopping, I now know where I will go when I’m ready to buy. I will go to the “real” market to buy china and silverware, the shoe shops “on the street” to buy dress shoes and the “teacher store” to buy stuff for the grandkids.

We had walked until we were hungry. Mike is having a hard time with the Taiwanese food, so for lunch we were going to find the Dominoes Pizza shop we had passed earlier. We thought we knew how to get there, but, alas, we must have passed it because we were soon almost back to our neighborhood.

Not to worry, there’s always McDonald’s. As we got out of the car we saw people flying kites in the field across the street. We went in and ordered, and then watched these fabulous kites through the window at McDonald’s as we ate. They were so fascinating that we walked over to the field when we were done eating and watched the kite masters fly these monstrous colorful kites. It reminded me of pictures of the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.

There were 2 giant pandas, several different sized octopus, a bird with a wing span of at least 9 feet, a few that had tails that were a city block long, a giant squid, a huge wind sock type that twirled like a cement truck tumbler, and a humongous circle that had to have had a thousand strings attaching it’s rim to the single line of string . The rigs they had for the string were like bicycle tire rims.

During the time we were watching, the wind picked up to a velocity that the kite fliers could no longer control them, and they began to wind them in. One of them was sitting on a post at the park and reeling that kite in like a deep sea fisherman pulling in a marlin. Actually, he lost control and it came down in the field. Those kites were quite a sight to see!

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