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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wuhan at Night

Hmmm, clearly, I need to re-read the instructions for taking pictures at night... way too dark. But anyhoo, here are some pictures from Wuhan I took last night.

Dinner at a lake side restuarant. The ceiling was shiny shiny -- so what you are seeing here is actually a reflection of the restaurant on the ceiling.

Ok, I know it's virtually impossible to see -- but it is actually a picture of the moon and a bridge over the Yangtze River!

Dancers at a very loud and smokey bar

Well, since the night shots are all so dark, I thought I'd throw in a day time shot as well. As you can see, it is very very hazy here from all the pollution.

What the heck, since I am already deviating from the theme of this post, here are more day time pics from Wuhan. Ramen Restuarant -- kinda so so and generic -- though it was cool that at around 3, when I was there, the staff were all sitting in the back eating a late lunch together and chatting and laughing. I like this kind of collegial spirit.

Outside the restaurant, some women were selling raw silk filled comforters -- see here they are pulling apart a bundle of raw silk, and what they do is once they pull the raw silk into a thin sheet, they stack them on top of each other and that would be the filling inside the comforter -- I think that's how it works, could be wrong.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Memorial Hall Formerly Known as Chiang Kai Shek

As part of the de-sinofication process, the Taiwanese government has been removing Chiang Kai Shek's name from many landmarks including this memorial hall formerly known as the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It is now the Taiwan Democracy Hall.

The latest battle has been over the characters on top of this gate. I believe the characters represent Chiang Kai Shek as well. The central Taiwanese government wants to remove the characters and the local Taipei government wants to keep them -- so as a compromise, I suggest they put In Cat We Trust on top instead! Meow!

The most exciting part of visiting the memorial hall formerly known as CKS turned out to be feeding these fat ass fishies...

After the history tour, we went to hang out with the teeny boppers at the trendy neighborhood of Shimendin (or West Gate Nail) and had some snow flower ice. It was interesting but I prefer shaved ice.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

OMG! Shilin Night Market!

Another full day of food orgy, educational tour, hot spring bathing... fun fun fun!

We started out the day with a tour of the National Palace Museum. It's kind of sad, the museum houses treasures from the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. But most Chinese would never be able to see these amazing art works because they can't go to Taiwan due to visa restrictions and 1/2 of the tourists at the museum were Japanese... kind of ironic.

After we are cultured and educated, we left for a neighborhood called Tian Mu which has a large ex pat population. I really like this place. It's got a relaxed feel to it with many boutique shops lining along the streets and alleys. It was around 3pm and we were starving but most restaurants had the sign -- In Preparation -- on their doors... eventually we found a shabu shabu place that was open. All this food for only 10 bucks and I didn't even take a picture of the plate of thinly sliced lambs I had!

We promised ourselves that we wouldn't eat a big lunch, and at this hour, to leave room for nightmarket food, but oh well. After shabu shabu, we went up the hills to a hot spring resort. We weren't used to the hot spring water at first but got used to it later, it was really relaxing and comfy.

NOW, time for the mother of all night markets -- Shilin Night Market! AHHHHHHH, OMG! Nothing could have prepared me for this place! It was huge, crowded, loud and sooo much fun! We only ended up visiting like 1/2 of the stalls. We missed out the main food areas entirely and yet still managed to stuff ourselves silly. Oh, I also got socks and shoes... so cheap, hmmm, now the question is, how am I going to carry all these with me home? Think hard Cat! Here are the pictures for you all to enjoy and salivate over! Hehehe! Another reason I am including all these pictures is because I really admire the people who work at the stalls. It's hard hard work so I want to say thank you all!

We started out with a fried chicken breast steak! Super yummy -- crunchy, crispy, tender and slightly spicy. Oh yeah, T is holding a sour plum drink, now officially my favorite drink!

I love the color scheme of this picture. I wish I could find the vendor and give this picture to her.

La Jian or Oyster Pancake. It's really really good. Crunchy around the edges, with gooey sauce, and soft on the inside. Now I know why you guys were all so into it! And it cost us a whopping one buck!

Mi Shian -- not a fan. The texture was too soft and mushy for my taste.

Last but not least, J and P, I got the Dragon Beard Candy for you guys -- but whether it can last two weeks until I come back to the States is an entirely different question! Ooops, just ate one. Ok ok, no worries, I'll make sure to find some fresh ones for you guys at the HK airport on my way back :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beef Noodles and Shaved Ice, etc.

Today, we went to the most famous beef noodle restaurant in Taipei and the birthplace of shaved ice. They are both located at the bustling Yong Kang Road district where there are lots of young people and hordes and hordes of Japanese tourists.

Yong Kang Beef Noodle Restaurant. I love this place. It's sunny, bright, idyllic, just a lovely neighborhood noodle shop.

I got the (red cooked, literal Chinese translation) roasted beef noodle soup, and T got the clear broth beef noodle soup. The beef was cooked to perfection, so tender.

After the beef noodle soup, we made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of shaved ice, a very popular Taiwanese dessert. Tada, here it is!

We got the shaved ice with three toppings. I liked it alot! The ones I've had in the States used condensed milk as the flavoring agent, here they used caramelized sugar, which gave the shaved ice a very pleasant but subtle caramelly taste.

After the shaved ice, we did lots of shopping at a wholesale clothing market. I got three shirts, one little sweater vest, a capey jacket... very productive!

We capped off the day with a hot pot dinner with T and her dad. Mucho thanks to T and her family for hosting me in Taipei. I am having a great time!

Humongous hot pot, northern Chinese style. The owner of the place is from northern China. We assumed she married a local man and moved here.

I also saw the cutest doggy at this place! He is sooo adorable. MUAH!

Taipei, night market.

Taipei's nightmarket -- it is so much fun to go from one stall to the next and check out the different food offerings....

But, the smell of stinky tofu was too much to resist! Stinky Tofu Hotpot, very stinky and very yummy.

On the way back, we ran into a moped brigade... there are sooo many mopeds in Taipei!