Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taipei Day 3: Ximending

The rain did not stop on our third day in Taipei. In fact, it kept pushing into the night. We left the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall for a place called Ximending which had more people than the rain.

Ximending is one of the older & therefore better known hangouts, being the earliest & the biggest pedestrian centre in Taipei. This place was probably where your parents went to in one of those huge tour buses full of Malaysian tourists in the 70s or 80s (that gives you only one hour to shop).

This is the place to come for fashion & to experience the subculture.

Gramps doing the subculture thing, probably doing a bit of shopping for his grandaughter.
'Dang! You ate my coin!'

Doraemon aghast at the menacing robotic hand which had probed him before 
in unspeakable areas.

Right at the heart of this place is the historical Red Theatre.

It was originally designed & built by the Japanese Occupation as a market; which  thenn strangely turned into a live performance house. Today, it houses designer/artist boutique stores on the ground floor & a performance stage upstairs. I'm sure once upon a time this place holds much romantic charm.
Today, it's an interesting place to shop  for designer souveniers; not the usual run-of-the-mill Taiwan keychains or fridge magnets. 

These are DIY sew-yourself dolls.

Postcards with people that pop-up at the back.

Old Taipei pop up cards.

And of course there's always food anywhere you go in Taipei, with long lines of people. I would have gone for this with both eyes closed & my mouth open but Nee was looking for something soupily-steamboaty.

Till today, I regreted not finding out what that rice flour thing was.

When a restaurant doesn't need to provide chairs & tables, it must be selling something really good.

By day 3 in Taipei, it became natural that my reflexes were re-programmed to gravitate towards anything that had a long line of people, including this.

But as it turned out, this shop was selling innards, and I quickly gravitated to the exit.

Then there was another bunch of crowd around this stall; a different one, mostly women, both single young ones & also aunties, obviously gawking at Tom Cruise doing the cocktail thing.
But those were not cocktails. They were white bitter gourd drinks (about RM4.00). I wasn't sure whether these ladies were there for the drinks but they tasted good. Note: the man on the right probably had dubious gender preference.

Potato balls! You can see this in every night market. It's a very Taiwanese thing.

For RM5, you'd get a big bag, RM3 for small. I don't want to go back to inflation-fested Malaysia.

The whole Ximending place was like a maze & the multiple alleys did not help. We kept plodding on hoping to come across something really nice. Nee wanted something hot & soupy like steamboat but we weren't sure where the good ones were.

Out of extreme hunger & famine, we dropped into this place that actually looked like a chain restaurant. I didn't have a good feeling about this place but we were losing our sugar level fast.
Nee looked happy. I think the food hadn't really reached her tastebuds yet.

I don't think these were any more special than any other place.

The set came with some smelly tofu plus smelly innards stuff but it didn't work for us.
Nee came out so so but I was extremely disappointed, and now I stunk of stinky tofu. Not entirely satisfied with the evening, we decided to pursue further even though our bloated stomachs were screaming in agony. But the god of gluttony was smiling down on us that night. So was this store owner.

The standard Taipei oyster pancakes which still amazes me. The prices are always up there on the signboard.

This felt like Kuching fest & we were feeding ourselves silly. There is NOTHING like Taipei stewed minced pork rice (Lu Rou Fan). I can have this ten times & I'd still want another ten more.

Children in impoverished Africa probably will never know the feeling of being full. Here, we were beyond their imagination, way beyond what their minds can fathom. We were extremely & disgustingly beyond full.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FREE CNY Kittens!

It's that time of the year again. It's strange but somehow kittens always come around this time. Maybe it's a good time cos in every house, there's sure to be an abundance of food. I've said it before & I'll say it again. The mom really knows family planning.

Kitties imprisoned for illegal free-loading.

Anyone wants one, or the whole bunch? Seriously. We're giving them away for free. You can let them wear head bands with fake pink ears & pretend they're bunnies.

Photo copyright by Raymond Ting.

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