A Taiwan-derful Weekend

It all started with Taiwan Beer.

Friday night Luke and I headed to a local beer bar, Cafe Bastille, in search of a new local for good international beer and fries.

Luke found a good beer.

and the fries, although no match for our fav in Wellington – Leuven, were pretty good.

After we walked around Shida Night Market (our local night market).

Night Markets are a big part of Taiwanese life. There are various night markets all over the city, open every night of the week. You can find just about everything at these markets from clothes to crafts but the main reason people go is for the food. It’s super cheap and really good. But we resisted the temptation to eat there as we both wanted to try out a pizza place near us, Maryjane Pizza.

The pizza was tasty and very cheap. Our bill two pizzas, a beer, and a lemonade came to just over 20 NZD.

We were up early Saturday and decided to go for a walk down the road to the Weekend Flower Market.

We got there before it was open but we were able to walk through as see the vendors setting up. There were so many beautiful plants, flowers, and pots. We’ll be back once we move into our permanent apartment.

The market is under a freeway bridge. Under the same bridge there is a Jade Market and an Art Market. I suppose it’s important to make good use of all space in a big city.

After the flower market and a trip to IKEA, we came home to study Mandarin the rest of the afternoon. I am trying to eat more Taiwanese at home so I boiled some vegetarian dumplings for lunch.

Around 5pm we set out to explore the city. The Danshui River isn’t too far from where we live so we decided to walk there.

Taipei has an extensive network of bike paths one of which runs along this river. We will definitely come back with bikes on a sunny weekend.

On our way home we stumbled upon another night market. This time we were hungry. Luke tried one of these.

And with the help of a local Taiwanese with pretty good English we sampled Stinky Tofu (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinky_tofu).

The verdict? It was disgusting. We smiled and pretended to like it only to be polite to the Taiwanese woman that helped us order it. Luke and I both agree it was one of the worst things we have ever tasted and we both vow never ever to eat it again…yuck.

To get the taste out of our mouths we bought an assortment of really tasty dumplings from this guy.

To round the evening off Luke got his first Taiwanese haircut.

Sunday was a study day for Luke so I decided to take a big walk to an area of the city called, Ximending. Ximending is a pedestrian friendly shopping area with lots of quirky shops and of course food stalls.

I saw lots of other interesting things along the way.

I also tried out the squat toilets in the MRT and found them so clean when compared to the ones I used in Nepal and India. (There are western style toilets in all MRT stations but I would rather do as locals do…).

For a snack I tried these.

I am obsessed with fresh lychees and while these were good they didn’t quite capture the delicious juiceyness of a fresh one.

We’re going to stay home tonight and rest up for the week ahead.

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