Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Occidental Tourist

If you're looking for today's Hodgepodge questions you'll find them here.

O is for Occidental.
Essentially that means Western. Not Eastern. Not Asian.

The Occidental Tourist.
I guess that would be me.

You don't hear the word Occidental or its counterpart, Oriental too often these days. The terms Western and Asian are preferred but since today is all about the letter O I'm going with it.

When last I left you we were in Taipei and were getting ready to hit some markets, specifically The Jade Market and The Flower Market. But first, we needed to pick the right subway route.

This picture makes me smile.
Sometimes when traveling, a collective brain is necessary.

Now, how to describe these markets?
Picture something the size of a football field, but indoors and with a very low ceiling.

Imagine the space filled from end zone to end zone and sideline to sideline with tables, and each and every table covered in jewelry and stones and small pieces of sculpture.

That's the Jade Market...it's impossible to adequately describe and even the pictures don't capture the size of this place. When there are literally thousands of choices how in the world do I decide what to buy?

Now, imagine another football field just past the first one, but with a higher ceiling. It too is covered in tables but these tables are filled with flowers and plants and gardening tools. Also found here are full grown trees in pots and shrubs for your yard and ornamental sculptures for your garden-that's the Flower Market.

Oh if I'd only had a way to take home some of the amazing plants I saw...I think airlines frown on anything agricultural.

You also need to imagine that you visit The Jade Market and The Flower Market in the early part of the afternoon and when you pass by them again in the early evening the buildings are completely empty. The markets are set up and broken down every weekend which cannot be easy.

We needed dinner and what better place than another night market? We headed to what is the biggest and probably most well known market in Taipei, the Shilin Night Market. Two more co-workers joined us and we went on the hunt for a particular spot someone had recommended. They kept calling it 'the goose restaurant'. No need to wonder what's for dinner. Here it is-

It helps to take pictures of the signs when they're in Chinese. When I come back I can just show the picture to a taxi driver. Much easier than trying to pantomime the words 'goose restaurant'. Note the mural on the wall with the geese scurrying away.

I think they know what's up.

This is their future.

They're delicious.
Go with the flow people.

After dinner we walked thru Shilin Market and I really enjoyed that. Shilin is a wonderful mixture of shops and boutiques, food stalls and night life. It feels a little Times Square-ish. Our friend told us we had to try these apples-

She was right! They're called wax apples and are so amazingly sweet and light. Really delicious and unlike any apple I've ever tasted.

It was a very full weekend and loads of fun. I wish I could explain the buzz in my head at the end of each day.

I know I'd love to bring my girls back here. The shopping alone would be enough to keep them happy, but they like to see new places and experience different cultures too. And we can eat goose...I have the photo all ready for our taxi driver.


  1. I'd like for you to bring me and sister back there as well! And I guess I'll try the goose...

  2. Joyce...so that strange looking 'meat' is goose meat? Hmm...not quite sure I could swing that!Those apples sound very intereting and delicious! I would LOVE to visit that jade market sometime. Did you find any bargains?

  3. This is hilarious. Have I ever told you that your post titles are charming and make me smile? The Occidental Tourist--very clever. And the picture for the taxi driver--yes, it certainly does look like a goose caught in the middle, its head symbolically chopped off, as well as the lower parts detached from each other. On the right it looks like a symbol of a table ready for said dismembered goose, and on the left is a bench with someone sitting on waiting for that empty table. Okay, enough of symbolism. I've never tried goose, but I will take your word for it that it's good. I think the shopping choices would paralyze me!!

  4. What an amazing trip! I could pass by the plants, but the jade market would have occupied a day or two. :) Love the idea of taking pictures of the signs. That would work even if they were in English - easier than writing down the name.

  5. I didn't know occidental was a word - I'm surprised you haven't pulled it out in WWF yet. ;)

    I am not a good shopper in an American setting. I think you'd find my in a corner hyperventilating and rocking myself at one of those markets.

  6. So what jade did you end up buying? We need pictures! I have a bracelet that I just love. It is all different colors of jade.

  7. WOW what a dinner you had! Not sure I could eat something like that if I really knew what it was. Good for you. Sounds like a beautiful trip.

  8. You look so pretty in these pictures. I think I could eat the waxed apples. Tell us or show us what you purchased over there would love to see.

  9. I think it's just fine that I am not a traveler. I don't have to be- I can just sit back and enjoy your travels! And I certainly have enjoyed this trip!

  10. I loved every photo and it brought back so many memories of my travels to Taiwan. Did you try the "Stinky Tofu?" Smells terrible, but tastes great. It is everywhere at Shilin Market. Did you go to Snake Alley? I don't recommend it. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

  11. Again thank you for my travels. I would love the Jade Market, but would go nuts trying to make up my mind. How in the world did you see it all. Enjoying your pictures they are great!
    until next time... nel

  12. Love the post and each photo-would also love to travel with you!

  13. Love you pictures...I will live vicariously through your travels!! I can not imagine shopping in such a marvelous market but I would have to pass on the goose....hopefully they have a vegetarian buffet somewhere!

  14. So many things to see and do--and you're doing a great job of recapturing it all for us to enjoy :)

  15. I love the word occidental...and your photos made me want to strap my backpack on once again and take off...but I have three school aged children so it has to wait a while.
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspriation (about #776 on the A to Z list).

  16. So occidental is a new word for me and I love how you have been able to link your A-Z posts in a non traditional way! I have to say that I think I would enjoy the shopping. Not so sure about eating goose but when in rome!