It was 3:30 pm. I had worked many hours straight and had taken a nap, but still felt really tired and groggy. There are only a couple windows of time I have in my schedule to go gift shopping and this afternoon was one of them. Yet I wasn’t really in the mood. Still, a window is a window, so out I flew.
I hailed a jeepney and climbed aboard. There are six to a side, as this was a miniature version of one. Crammed like sardines in a can, we bumped along, stopping and starting picking and dropping of riders. As we weaved in an out of traffic, zooming in front of other Jeepney’s peddle cars, motorcycles and Tricey cabs with a loud honk! Honk! There are no stop lights or stop signs here. Everyone just moves along, negotiating the traffic in a zip-in-line style of driving that would surely get a ticket in the states! The honking is not meant to be rude and no one is offended. It is just the way of getting along, sort of letting them know your turn is next, whether they like it or not.
We rode several miles toward down town, the buildings were getting bigger and more elegant looking. The Embassy, the post office, the famous (or not so famous) big Marco Polo Motel are all there. My stop to get off was just outside the Marco Polo motel on the opposite side of the street.
The Aldevinco market was where I was headed. It was just about an hour from closing time, so I wandered in among the shops. There are many and all are small, even tiny, with glass fronts and doors. Mostly all the same things are sold, just presented differently and different colors. There are wrap around skirts, blouses, dresses, Filipino knick –knacks, and all manner of tourist trap items. I bought my fair share! One thing that is amazing to me, are the real pearls that are sold for so cheap. I am going to bring home several different kinds for gifts. They are just beautiful in different colors and shapes and sizes.
After I had bought enough to stuff my back pack and a large bag I purchased, I set about crossing the road to find a taxi going the right way toward home. Several young men stopped me, trying to sell me Seiko watches, leather belts, and such. They pled with me that they were soooooo hungry. I felt bad, but honestly, I didn’t need a Seiko watch or belt with strange buckle attached.
I got a taxi and headed across town to a restaurant called Boodles. I sat down with all my packages and back pack and had their special. For my dinner, I had a piece of chicken, broiled, and a small pile of rice. A serving of pickled ginger and a Kalimansi (like a lime) were served along side. I then had a Durian shake. Durian is sold along the streets. It is a very prickly looking fruit, rather formidable looking. People use a machete to get into it. The Durian has a sweet flavor, but an unusual odor. If you can get past the odor, I think it actually tastes good, that with a little sugar and milk and ice. Anything with ice sounds really good, as it is scarce here.
It was now quite dark. The streets are very active after dark here, as it is finally cool enough to enjoy life a little. Music blares, people are coming in and out of the restaurant, there are more people on the streets now than earlier in the day. I hired a peddle cab, and had a leisurely ride home for a mile. For a while, a young boy (about 8) raced our peddle cab for fun.
Back to work for night shift all night 10:00pm to 6:00am… and what a night I had.. but I will write about that next.