(photos will follow as soon as I get the film developed. Tasting my new camera.)
Let’s face it, these hectic times are wearing on us all. We are living in a time vacuum, unsure of the future and just trying to get the most out of the present. We experience limitations and restrictions in all possible ways. For me it is not just the inability to move around and travel, rather, I feel that it is the lack of variation and easiness in my daily life that I’m missing. There is generally little variation in goods and services offered in Finland, also, the variety of people, opinions, cultures. Living in urban Finland remains somehow stereotypical even in early 2020s.
It’s not a secret that I have always been fond of ethnic food stores and institutions, but Puhos in Itäkeskus takes it to another level. If you are looking for yummy food, great customer service, interesting architecture and mysterious life of this multi-ethnic entity, do come by.
Puhos was the largest Finnish ostari (shopping centre) at the time it opened in 1965. It was designed by Erkki Karvinen and boasted with twenty stores at that time (!) and am adjacent parking lot! And while twenty does not feel like much nowadays, it actually is quite a generous number, for you would probably not have more than two or three stores of the same kind there.
If you Google “puhos”, you will find photographs from the 1960s-1970s and will be able to understand the vibe of the place. Fountains (gone.). Well arranged and well lit shopping alleys, a pleasure to shop at really, a playground (gone.), an interesting oval-ish centre square. Oh and Puhos also boats with outdoor escalators, one of the first ones in the coutnry – fine, they are not working, but still, where else in Finland can you see those?
The extension from the 1980s is kind of dull I admit, but it accommodates some of the best food supermarkets I have seen in Finland. While the facilities are a bit dated, the variety of foods and produce prices will blow you away. And as it is quite a large and open-space supermarket, you will feel comfortable just roaming through the shopping aisles without needing to buy anything in particular, taking your time (I think I have become way too Finnish over the time).
If you would like to visit Puhos, do so soon, please. The future of the place is uncertain, the rumour has it that the 1980s part will be torn down in the nea future and – surprise – replaced with high-rise residential buildings. While the old part shall be preserved, I strongly advice to visit the place as soon as you can in order to be able to live the atmosphere fully.