Thursday, May 24, 2012

Random things I saw while wandering around Taipei

Hi friends,

Are you having a good week?  I am enjoying my time here in Taiwan.  The work hours are long, but I try to get out and see a few things every morning and evening so when I get home I have some memories of my trip that don't involve work!

Before I share my iphone dump, let me share my Asian themed card with you.

This card includes a great sentiment from Confucius and that little bird button is an embellishment I got while in Singapore last summer.

So on to my i-phone dump.  These are just a bunch of random photos I took while out and about.

This first photo is a picture from out the gym window at the W.  The big building is Taipei 101. The building ranked officially as the world's tallest from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.  The lower floors house a very high end mall and then there is an observation deck at the top.

Here is a photo of the W Taipei lobby.  The W is all about elegance and style.  the blue circles are light sources and the circle thing - well that's a couch with pillows.
This next picture is inside Taipei 101.  The ceilings are huge and it was packed full of Chinese tourist groups.  I was going to go to the top but it was cloudy so I decided to wait and go another day when the view would be better.
Okay, so this next photo was just too darn cute not to share with you.  I think this is some teen guy band.  This was an advertising poster in a mall area.  It looks like 5 Chinese Justin Beibers.  I can hear the girls screaming already.  Love the pink boys.
 The stores around Taipei 101 were all stunning.  Here is a gorgeous flower store.  Beautiful.
Here's a good one.  Look what the maid left me for my turn down service.  Do you think they have a profile on me?  How did anyone know that my favorite candy in the whole wide world is real German gummy bears.  Amazing.
And speaking of the 'W', I couldn't help but show you a picture of my high tech toilet seat.
The Asians are funny about toilets.  They are either very modern and high tech or very basic. It is not uncommon for their to be 'squat toilet's' in airports and public places.  Yes, they are just what the sound like - a hole in the ground - no seat.  And then there is this toilet that is in my hotel room.  You walk into the toilet closet and the seat lifts for you before you get inside.  And when you sit down, the seat is warm.  While you are sitting, the toilet emits 'distracting water noise' so no where can hear you tinkle.  And when you are done, you can press all these buttons on this device and have all kinds of strange bidet things happen to you.  I leave the buttons alone.  Honestly I'm afraid an electric hand will come out and wipe my bottom for me.  And yes, when you get up, it flushes automatically and puts the seat down automatically.  Very nice.  I could get used to this.

Below is a photo of the gym at the W.  They call it SWEAT.  Very appropriate.  It is very humid in Taiwan and yes, when you move, you sweat.  I've been good this trip and hit SWEAT every morning at 6:00am.
Below is a photo of a typical intersection in Taipei.  A lot of people ride these scooters to work.  Many carry two people on them.  Even with traffic lights, they supplement with traffic cops with whistles.  The streets buzz with the sound of scooters and traffic cop whistles.
Girls often carry an umbrella, not to shield them from the rain, but to shield them from the sun.
The school kids all wear uniforms and generally take public transportation or walk to school.  Here is a group of high school students heading off to classes at 7;30am.
Do you ever wonder why Asian people wear masks?  Most people mistakenly think they wear the masks to protect themselves from germs.  It's actually the opposite.  They wear the masks so they don't cough germs on others.  I've heard that some people wear them all the time and others only when sick.  For some young girls, they use them to hide their face and it is a sign of insecurity or depression.  It's so accepted in society that people don't even stop to question why someone is always wearing a mask.

Okay, so the above photo just struck me as funny.  What do you suppose 'Busking' is? The photo indicates a court jester with coins being thrown.   I would guess it means no street entertaining for money, but Busking?  That's a new one for me.  Amazing that I would learn a new english word while in Taiwan.  Funny.

So, below is a photo of the Taipei Night Market.  Oh - my - word - what a gross experience.  Everyone talks about this night market as a 'must do' activity while in Taiwan.  It is a street vendor experience - Chinese style.  So I envisioned lots of street vendors hawking their goods mixed in with food vendors selling all kinds of Chinese junk food.  Well it was all that and more.
So of course I expected to see strange food.  What I didn't expect was the awful smells.  There is a dish called 'stinky tofu.'  It smells like fresh horse manure.  So every few feet you would get this big ole whiff of poo and then walk by some gross looking food, and everyone that was walking around was eating something. 
The meat looked very yucky.  The seafood looked very yucky too.  Actually almost all the food looked yucky to me.
 I was slightly tempted by the fruit, but knew it was not a good idea to eat it from this market.  I'll eat my fill of fruit from the breakfast buffet at the hotel.  

The market was very crowded.  Quite a few people were carrying around little dogs and many of the vendors had small dogs in their booths.  There were young people, old people and kids.  All were Asian.  I didn't see one black person, and only two western looking people.  It is obviously a popular local hang out and a place for Asian tourists. 
The store vendors were selling all kinds of things.  There were people selling goldfish, shoes, undies, cell phone cases, purses, towels, hair accessories - all kinds of various stuff.
If it was just all these strange smells and foods, I wouldn't have minded my time at the Taipei Night Market.  I understand that different regions have different food styles, and in the beginning I found it entertaining and unique.  But one  thing that I saw took me over the edge about this experience.  That was when I saw a cock roach crawling on the top of one of the counters in one of the booths.  After that I just wanted to get out of there, and fast.  I guess when you mix a lot of people, a lot of food, warm weather and the great outdoors, you're going to see some bugs around, but that was just nasty and from then on, I didn't want to bring anything home from that market.

So I grabbed a taxi, got back to my hotel and headed to the very cool department store Eslite next to the W.
Eslite is like a store and a mall all in one.  It's a department store - kind of - with a lot of boutique depts inside.  You check out in each department but you can get an Eslite discount card and there are no walls in between the different departments.  Plus, the departments are all organized by floor so books, CD's and stationary is all together on one floor and fashion, shoes and accessories are all on another floor.  I think there were 7 floors all together.  It was really pretty and interesting, but not cheap.
 Guess what I found wandering around the 5th floor?  Of course, a stamping store!!
 No bargains here though.  All of the stuff they were selling was from USA...... Hero Arts, My Favorite Things, Martha Stewart....  But in the stationary store I found some Washi Tape and two cool pens for Jessa.  So I didn't come home empty handed (not that any of you afraid that would happen!!)

Well, this has become an incredibly long post and most of you have probably stopped reading by now, but for those who read till the end, I hope you enjoyed my Taipei i-phone dump! 

Stop by on the 25th for my Papertrey Ink Blog Hop entry and then starting on the 26th (or maybe the 27th) I'll have stories and pictures from Japan!

Have a great day.


Shelly Schmidt said...

Great card! Love the sentiment too. I love your post- we are just back from China- I did not get too many pic's of the street shopping- we did not see any weird bugs alive or on sticks, but saw many other 'different' things. I did not find any paper crafting stores or papers.... Enjoy your time!

Karen said...

Love your card - the papers are beautiful and the bird button is fabulous!

Sounds like you are seeing plenty of sights in Taiwan, not all of them pleasant, I gather... LOVE the toilet and your hilarious description! (I would have pressed ALL the buttons!) And I'm impressed that you've been getting in your workout every day.

Look forward to seeing China through your eyes!

Pam said...

Gummy bears at turn down would have made my day! Why on earth you could call something stinky and expect people to eat it is beyond me!