Monday, October 10, 2016

Night markets in Taiwan

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Kirsten and I are hungry when we get to our hostel from the Taipei airport. Most shops are closed at the night market across the street. The market has emerged around a Chinese temple. 

We wander around until we find something open, a Japanese restaurant near the market. The decor is urban industrial and the food is a delicious blend of flavors and textures. It's pretty cheap: $5 or so for a full meal. Students and young professionals gather at nearby tables.

By the time we finish eating, the market is in full swing. The streets become congested with pedestrians and vendors pull racks into the middle between shops. Kirsten finds the cutest cosmetic purses - and just finishes paying for them when the gal claps shut her display into a thin long suitcase, snatches the stand, and runs down the middle of the street.
Seafood on a skewer
What? Young men pulling several clothing racks dash past us and into side shops or alleys. They must be unlicensed sellers. Sure enough. A policeman wanders slowly past - he's trying not to catch / shame anyone. After he passes, in a little while, everyone emerges again and trade resumes.

Storms - wind and rain - are blowing in. Kirsten is very sore as we walk to the ATM in the morning. We stroll back to the hostel and both of us rest.
New - and interesting - construction near the MRT
The fruit seller charges us $10 for 4 kinds = ripped off
At about 4, we are ready for another trip to the market. A few hours we have a bite, Kirsten's friend Jenn arrives - we eat together at the food court under the market. It's nice having someone who speaks Mandarin along! She and Kirsten will spend a few days in Shanghai after Taiwan.

We shop a bit. On the way to Taipei, the airline weighed my luggage (10 kg or 22 lb total permitted). I don't have any weight allowance for a purchase. There's so much to see - but the hyperspeed of making change (faster than an ATM by most sellers) and the variety of goods is tempting. I just say no.

An old Kawasaki - mint condition
Young people and old, they're all here, shopping, chatting, EATing, and walking around.
cotton candy
We're back at the flat by 10, ready for sleep.

In the morning, we have breakfast in the room - fruit and egg tart rounds out my meal. I'm off to the airport at 11 - the rain pelts me on the way to the taxi.

I have an uneventful stopover in Singapore and stick my feet into a free massage chair. No meals are served on the flights: I snag a sandwich from a French-like bistro in Singapore and gulp it before boarding the last flight.

I get to Jakarta at 10pm. Brandy gets through immigration about 1am. More about that later.

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