Metro, Malls, and Stinky Tofu...

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Feb 21, 2011

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Flag of Taiwan  ,
Thursday, February 3, 2011

My day started with a stroll in the garden in the back of the housing complex. People were growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables there.  I took a picture of a mango tree because I had never seen one before.  This land is actually owned by the government, but throughout the years, the residents had laid claim to the property by dividing the spaces with recycled materials they found wherever.  Unfortunately, my aunt and uncle did not get there in time, years ago, to stake their claim.  They informed me that there are the occasional neighborhood disputes over the land, but, remember, no one owns it.  The path you see actually leads up the side of a mountain.

I've been walking to my grandparents place for lunch daily.  I walk past a breakfast/lunch establishment another one of my cousins started called the Morgan Burger.  She just made up the name Morgan.  No meaning.  They sell traditional breakfast foods and also hamburgers.  Not sure if hamburgers here are the same or not.  McDonalds are all the same.  I might go there one of these days.  Lunch prepared could consist of new dishes or a mixture of new and leftovers from the night before.  Nothing is ever wasted.

My cousin, oldest uncle’s daughter, was kind enough to take me out to where the new shopping developments are.  Also, in the same area, there is the second tallest building in the world, they call the 101.  We took the, efficient, public bus there.  This area is newly developed, much different than most of Taipei.  This area rivals any places I’ve seen in the US.  You can tell lots of money had been put into the design and infrastructure of the buildings.  And, of course, in any metro area, you get all the strange people as well.  People meditating, protesting, and a traditional Taiwanese man preaching about something.  He is actually the Chinese version of the American Indian.  One of malls we went to was built by a rich Chinese guy for his wife, girlfriend, or something like that.  He only put the designer stores she liked to shop at in the mall so that they wouldn't have to fly out of the country to shop. 

We decided to meet up with Andy, a friend of my cousin’s, actually boyfriend, to go to the night market.  Her father doesn’t like him because he is divorced and has a child.  We took the underground metro which was right around the corner.  As you can tell, it is very clean because there are large fines and penalties if you litter.  No drinks, food, or cigarettes, and even gum chewing is not allowed.

When we walked up the steps, we were met with a mass of people.  It took an hour to walk through one side of the market.  I bought a few dress shirts for $5.50.  They were originally 6 bucks each, but I was able to haggle her down fifty cents.  We sat down and had some dinner at one of the many stands there.  They are like an outdoor restaurant with kiddie tables as your dining area.  We shared an oyster omelet and a dish called stinky tofu.  It literally smells like rotten feet, but it tastes really good.  We had sugar glazed fruits and vegetables as dessert and a fruit smoothie to wash it all down.  At the end of the market was a temple.  It was busy because of the New Year.  People praying to the gods and burning money and incense for their loved ones that had past away.

To end our evening, we shot some pool at a local billiard joint.  Andy showed me how they played here and I showed him good old 8-ball.  He shot quite well.  Pool was pretty cheap.  We basically paid the equivalent of 3 dollars for an hour of pool.  They even gave us little refreshing wipes for us to clean up with.

Scooters are the main mode of transportation here.  If not, I would have not gotten on the back with another dude.  I got on and he took me to the nearest metro station.  Then, he went back to go pick up my cousin to bring her over as well.  We were both tired after reaching home.
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