Saturday, November 27, 2010

National Palace Museum

Recently Rich and I spent an afternoon at the National Palace Museum - this sign was on the bus on the way to the museum and I thought it was photo worthy.
As you can see from the photograph's the building is very impressive and beautiful - especially set against a forest.

I have to admit that even though this muesum had an amazing collection of very old and interesting Chinese historical items I didn't enjoy it that much. The reason for this can be simplified into two words "tour groups" - I have no problem with tour groups in general but on this day I cannot even begin to guess how many tour groups were at this museum. It felt like whenever we started to look at an item around twenty other people in one of these evil tour groups would push in front of us.

However, there was something even worse than the tour groups pushy manner and this was the sheer noise of them. I don't expect people to be completely silent in a museum - if you see something interesting sure you'll want to talk about it , but the volume at which most of these tour groups spoke was more like something I would expect to hear at a pub on a Friday night. It was so frustrating!

After the madness of the museum - we stumbled across this lovely garden which was a nice surprise. I especially loved the bat window at the entrance.

Whilst we were in the gardens we were able to buy some fish food from a vending machine and feed the coy carp in the ponds. The result of this was a total fish frenzy!
Finally - when we were in the gardens we saw this huge snail (it must have been 10 cm long) - I really wanted it to come out of it's shell but it just wanted to hide away.

Gu Ling Art Market and book fair

The school where I teach is located on Gu Ling Road in Taipei - recently when I arrived at work I was pretty excited to see an art and book fair was taking place. Luckily for me the fair went all day and into the night so I had a good chance to check it out after work.

The market reminded me a little of Craft 2.0 in Wellington as there were a lot of incredible hand made items. As well as stalls selling books, stalls which I think belonged to various community groups (I don't know for sure because I don't speak Chinese), street performers and also a few corporate stalls.

I decided to make a couple of small purchases - there was so much I COULD have bought but I decided on this rather large quirky teapot ring and a delicate little bird brooch.

Rahoe Street Night Markets

If you have been following my Taipei posts you will know that Taiwanese people just LOVE night markets. So here's another post about a night market - this time it's the Rahoe Street Night market. I acutally think it's my favourite night market to date - not too big and not too small with a really diverse variety of stalls and food.
This market had a few pets for sale including bunnies - I would have loved to have taken one home.
The also a lot of stalls with fish, turtles and bugs for sale as pets. Some of the fish had amazing vibrant colours. I'm not sure why some of the fish were in glasses all by themselves - maybe they are super aggressive and like to attack other fish? Or maybe it's just easier to transport them via a shot glass.

When we were at the markets we saw a display of hand blown glass which isn't so strange - what is a little strange is that the artist was making the hand blown glass at his stall! Now for the food - we started off with some sweet potato chips with some kind of plum salt (it's much better than it sounds!) and we followed it up with some okonomiyaki.

It was about this stage we found this really creepy sculpture of an owl with glowing eyes and an explaination written in poor English. It's way more creepy in real life!
Finally we finished off the evening with more food - that's what night markets are all about after all! This time it was a "banana pancake" but it was actually more like roti bread with condensed milk and chocolate sauce. Very decadent - but it was so good. We shared this (well actually shared all of the food) and I truely don't know how anyone could eat a whole banana pancake!