Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chinatown - Sago Lane

To start the exploration of Sago Lane in Chinatown during this period of the Mid-Autumn festival, I loaded up on carbohydrates at a small restaurant that is famed for its Ipoh Hor Fun. With mushrooms it is $3 more. So just order the serving with chicken only because the mushrooms are not worth that much.

Outside a medical hall where a Chinese physician provides treatment for aches and pains for people of all ages, I saw this lady with this bag of petals from the flowers of the Blue Pea Vine. She told me that she used them as a dye for nonya kueh. Pomelos appear in such abundance only around this time of the year. The best ones come from Malaysia in a town near Ipoh. Visitors from another rich culture taking in the sights and sounds of Chinatown..
Kids love to see these spinning wheels. I like them for the cheer they bring whenever the wind blows. Ladies who can bargain can get a good deal for these necklaces and go home very satisfied with their purchases because something similar would cost a lot more in our departmental stores.
Lanterns made of plastic may reduce the chances of their being fire hazards. Actually they are bad for the environment.
More plastic! The traditional ones made of cellophane paper and bamboo strips are more attractive and friendlier to the environment. Paper ones are best because when destroyed, they are returned to the earth harmlessly. Sago Lane years ago was a far cry from what it is today. Tourists then would go there for the mobid reason of looking at the 'death houses' where old people go there to wait out their time on earth. (Shudder). Today, tourists buy souvenirs and stroll through the stalls on one side and on the other side, shops selling traditional cakes and biscuits, food and drinks and for now, pomelos.Seedless pomeloes - Nature must have been tampered with.
I thought they sell plastic toy footballs this way. Pomelo sellers are rather creative in displaying their goods. Fridge magnets - more plastic. They are cheap but do you need them?
Sunglasses for the trendy on a budget.
Vivacious animal from the Chinese horoscope.
Here's another one. Were you born in the year of the Rooster?
This is my favourite type of roadside stall. You can find almost anything you want here - nail clippers, safety pins, combs, pots and pans. It is more fun to browse here than in the shopping centre.
Here's a secret I will share: I am scared of photographing strangers in the street though they make great subjects sometimes. A long time ago when I was just a student, I went to Chinatown on a photo club outing and got scolded by a fiery old woman who was selling fish. She threatened to throw water at me if I went near her and pointed a camera at her again. In those days, my skin was not as thick as that of a pomelo and her words had a lasting effect on me. This explains why I always 1. shoot from a distance 2. pretend to be photographing something else. 3. Angle my camera at waist level to steal shots of people I find interesting. 4. Find creative ways to escape detection by my chosen targets.
I only noticed this sign when an American lady posed for a picture beneath it. She was so amused. Luckily the restaurant people did not detain her and put her in their soup.
Finally, a Chinatown old man's two-wheeler. I need four wheels to get home.

The End

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