30 September 2008

Porirua's Open Market and Titahi Bay in Wellington

We were awakened by the ringing phone last Saturday. We lied still and listened. Oh yeah, our phone had been installed already only the day before! The phone stopped ringing, then belted forth anew. I got up and answered.

It was Debbie. She apologized for calling so early but she got my number from Doc Annie and we were not able to talk much at the bus the day before but we might want to go to Porirua with them that morning? They were supposed to leave by 8, and will drop by our place to pick us up. I glanced at my watch. It was already 7:30. After confirming that we'd love to go with them, we rushed with changing clothes and breakfast.

My wife Tina then recalled that we indeed met her at the bus with two of her kids; I was confused because we met one other Filipino couple, also in the bus, prior to her. They were on their way to the Botanic Gardens, while we were visiting Te Papa Museum.

Wow. We managed a quick conversation of only a few minutes but she was able to locate us. It really is a small, close-knit Filipino community we have here in Wellington!

Soon enough, we were on our way to Porirua with Debbie and husband Bill, Doc Annie with son RA. The weekend market starts at around 8 and ends at 10. It's for just a short period of time. They lent us recyclable bags and off to the market we strolled. It was a fun atmosphere as we saw a couple of street performers giving a rather festive atmosphere. Lots of people were up and about. Most of the merchants, I noticed, were Chinese. And the items on sale? Lots! Vegetables, baskets, fresh fish, flowers (tulips!), sauces in bottles. We didn't actually have plans of buying anything but we ended up with a heavy load just the same. :-) Because the prices are hard to beat!

After the open market, we took a stroll around the mall as Debbie and Bill pointed out some interesting shops.

And then it was off to Titahi Bay.

It's true about what they say in New Zealand being near nature / recreation areas because we were at the mall area one minute, and in 15 minutes or so, we were already at the beach! Titahi Bay is a cove where some people go for the summer. It's a small stretch of sand but it hardly gets filled by people, considering the sparse population. Along the way we also saw large expanses of greens and parks for kids.

We were once more blessed with friends here in New Zealand. Debbie and Bill said that they have received lots of blessings in this country and were helped as well by the local community when they were new here. So they are simply paying it forward. What's so amazing here is that our fellow Pinoys are eager to reach out and help, and though they pointed out that there are also some Pinoys here who like to keep to themselves, there is still a strong bond amongst many Filipinos here.

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