Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 19

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Haneda International Airport, Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China

Saturday, May 11 2024 (Day 19)

I woke up with a bit of a cough today, though there wasn’t any phlegm or anything that usually accompanies a longer-term cough so hopefully it’s just a passing irritation. It annoyed me the entire day though.

Morning breakfast was sweet corn chinese omelet, radish cake, and what the store translated as “Job’s Tears Milk & Oat” — basically just a cup of oat milk. The whole meal was kind of bland. At least it was cheap?

I also tried one of those sandwiches that I had detailed at the end of yesterday’s post — speciflcally the New Orleans Roast Chicken with Vegetables. Mmm. It was good. It also had 7-Eleven specific branding at the bottom of the packaging so I do think that even though they’re obviously from the same “company”, they might actually have two entirely separate menus for the different convenience stores.

In the early afternoon, I watched with horror as the thermometer rose to 33 degrees Celsius again, but I was done my upkeep tasks for the day and so wanted to venture out anyway. 3 days ago I walked around 20k steps north to a night market, 2 days ago, I walked the same east, and yesterday I walked the same south. 4 days ago I had actually already gone west, but I had used the bus and then walked around some of the touristy areas there. Today, I went to complete the cycle by walking west, passing through or by both main areas that I had visited 4 days ago (Taipei Main Station Underground Mall and Ximending) in order to reach another night market.

Well it was more southwest than west, but close enough. My trail started west at least. The first interesting thing I came across was this little festival thing next to an MRT station. It was small, but reminded me of Edmonton. Like these little craft sales in Southgate Mall. I’m starting to yearn for home again.

Right behind that was a weird little.. thing

That picture was taken more or less level with the ground. Why all those weird ramps?

I came across a restaurant to have lunch in soon after that. The place I chose seemed to specialize in one main dish — Luosifen, or snail noodles. This was not actually the first time I had snail noodles, I had tried it about two years ago not far off from exactly to the day, but these ones were a lot less pungent or I’d have left the restaurant right away. Like breakfast though, it tasted kind of bland. I also ordered a tea type I had never tried before, pu’er tea, which is in the tall cup in the picture. It also tasted really bland. Maybe everything except New Orleans Roast Chicken tastes bland when I’m coughing.

The restaurant was notable though because the tables were very low, and instead of chairs, we had stools instead. There was still enough space, barely, so that I didn’t hit the table with my knees or anything, but I wonder if taller people would have trouble sitting at these.

After lunch, I forged on westwards. I found another playground, and ruefully noted that I have had a lot of playground and park pictures in the past few days.

I saw a couple walking their little cat on a leash. The poor cat was tiny and was somewhat struggling against the leash, or trying to go hyper and venture out further than the leash would allow it to. I felt bad for it.

I passed a couple streets and liked the designs on the street and the architecture of the buildings.

And I passed a cannabis shop, the first one I’ve seen all trip here. But I think it’s actually illegal here. So maybe it sells.. cannabis souvenirs? I don’t know. I didn’t check.

I stopped off at the Taiwan Main Station Underground Mall, specifically at the Sanmin shop there, to buy some plushie gifts for Kel, since I would be going to visit her on her birthday. She’s a big fan of Jinbesan, the blue whale from the San-X plushie line, but when I consulted her she apparently already had the one that was on sale there, so I got a few others from the same line that she did not have yet. I think she’s only expecting me to get one of them and not multiple ones so hopefully she does not read this before I arrive there since she’s really busy with work right now.

I had seen those plushies there when I went there four days ago, but had not purchased them at the time. I had checked a couple of other Sanmin stores in the ensuing days but they didn’t even sell these plushies, just stuff from other plushie lines (like Sumikkogurashi) that none of us care about. So I made it a point to return here to buy these at some point during my Taiwan stay, and that point was today.

They were pretty expensive, totalling up to 2,885 NTD (about $120 CAD) for the 3 of them in total, but because I spent over some hidden threshold or other, I received a 10% discount, so the final price I paid was 2,598 NTD ($110 CAD or so). They tried to get me to spend 700 NTD more, because spending 3,600 NTD (or was it 3,500?) at once would upgrade my 10% discount into a 15% one, but they failed to explain the 10% discount at the time so I thought it was a 0% discount until I spent at least 3,600 NTD. I still didn’t think the math worked out though, since 3,600 NTD less 15% was still 3,060 NTD, and I’d still be paying a couple hundred more NTD overall for extra discounted items that I didn’t really want. And that’s assuming I somehow found an item that exactly equalled that discount threshold. With the 10% applied on the purchase that I was going to make already, that’s even more of a gap. I would basically have had the “opportunity” to buy a $30 CAD item for $20 CAD.

They were kind of insistent and even asked a passerby who understood English to explain it to me because I didn’t know a few words of their explanation and they thought I didn’t get it at all. I did though, and said as much to the guy, and then pretended that my luggage had limited space so I couldn’t buy anything else, heh.

The underground mall itself was crowded, likely because it was a Saturday. It was far more crowded than it was when I visited on Tuesday, easily by 10x or more.

I also found a Frieren photo spot that I didn’t notice the last time.

More people meant none of the cosmetic barkers targetted me today, so that was nice. I also got to watch people playing some of these claw machines:

And wow, were they scams! They’re purposely stacked up so the items are on the verge of falling into the reward chute, but what the machines actually do is that when the claw goes down and picks up the item, and then retracts to the top again, it “throws” the item toward the far back right corner of the claw machine with a quick flicking motion as the claws open on purpose before closing again. I saw multiple machines do this, especially the ones whose claws are slanted to face the far back corner, like the one in the right claw machine above.

I saw multiple people walk by, look at the tempting machine, place one 10 yen coin in to try to grab an item, then leave in disgust after the claw “threw” the item further in. I’m sure they’re rigged to actually work properly every 5-10 tries or so, but I’m glad that I never tried any of the tempting-looking claw machines stacked high with loot that I saw over the past week.

I stopped into several 7-Eleven and Familymarts throughout the day to continue my sandwich research from yesterday, but only one Familymart yielded new results today. I’m adding this picture and its new sandwiches to the list at the bottom of yesterday’s blog post though.

The two newly-discovered flavours were Teriyaki Chicken and Ham Cheese & Egg. Commas, please.

I reached my first secondary goal not long after this. This was Dihua Street, supposedly a place with interesting local specialty shops like fabric and medicinal shops. And that’s exactly what I found there.

It was quite cool, though nothing revolutionary, and those pictures can sit in a gallery. So can the following ones below this introductory one below — on Dihua Street was an indoor market called Yong Le Market, which also had a lot of fabric and clothing shops but not exclusively so. It was also air-conditioned, which was nice. It was larger than Songjiang Market yesterday but less active, which makes sense — fabric and clothing aren’t exactly items that people need daily purchases of.

I wasn’t terribly far from my night market du jour after that detour, so I carried on, the only notable thing I passed along the way being this Singapore-branded cabaret club thing:

Oddly I couldn’t find it on Google Maps, but it was next to a Malaya Restaurant which was advertising meals more expensive than $100 CAD. Crazy.

It was pretty obvious when I got near the night market I was looking at, Huaxi Street Night Market. To cut through there, I passed through a brightly-lit evening street and a temple called Bangka Qingshan Temple.

The night market, just past that, was a covered street with shops on the side.

It was actually cut into two by a road and a traffic light. This strongly reminded me of the only other shopping street that I’ve seen (or at least remembered) like this — Tsurumibashi in Japan earlier on this trip.

It was split so that the first half of the market had a lot of restaurants and food places, and the second half had a lot of non-food stores. There was one particularly weird food place in the second half though — it sold snake dishes and maybe turtles as well.

I wasn’t interested for various reasons. It wasn’t a snack shop, it was a go in and sit down at a table restaurant, and the shop reviews were sort of low, in addition to just the general awkwardness of seeing the creatures in the tank out in front of the shop. But it was interesting to see at least. Judging by the reviews it was a well-known and somewhat infamous shop.

Going out the other end of Huaxi Street Night Market, I found a long road with stalls running perpendicular to it, with several offshooting branches as well. This was Guangzhou Street Night Market, and it was the closest thing to my idealized version of a night market that I’ve seen thus far. There were rows of physical shops down a good chunk of the sides of the main road as always, and there were also 1-3 rows of stalls on the roads itself with one or two footpaths for pedestrians between the stalls/shops.

The reason I like this area is not only because of the food and drink stalls, but also because there were a good number of other stalls mixed in too. Clothing stalls, game stalls, tables with dubious touristy trinkets, very obviously pirated/bootleg CD/DVDs, and so on. it felt very “local”, and not ultra touristy, or just catering to food, or just a street of actual physical shops that just happened to be open late. I spent some time walking up and down and up the street again, basking in the ambience.

I even saw my first mahjong parlour in person in this area:

Very neat. I hadn’t eaten anything from this area, although there were some uh.. delicacies like bull penis that were on sale, but my irritated throat was very thirsty and so I decided to look for something with soup for dinner. I ended up at this store:

And I ordered Stew Pork Belly with Rice, and Bitter Melon with Pork Chop Soup:

This was two separate menu items that cost 150 NTD in total, and went together really really well, and I think was one of the top meals that I have had in Taiwan thus far. Finally a not-bland meal, yay! The place sort of felt like a Singapore kopitiam restaurant, since it was partially open to the outside and had both indoor and outdoor tables and chairs, and I saw several families with kids in tow sitting and eating here. However, the whole place felt.. oily, the tables and chairs and plates and counter and ordering clipboards and pens and everything. Argh. I can still feel the grime even though I’m back at the lodging now. I don’t know if it was partially due to the built up sweat and dust from the day or what, but I felt icky and felt like I was smudging my phone screen with oil whenever I touched it afterwards. So I started to head home right after I finished my meal.

I still have a couple more notable photos from after I left that store and before I returned home though. The first was a woman seated outside the entrance to the nearby MRT station, and singing to a karaoke track of a song:

I don’t know why I Google Assistant’ed it, but she was singing this song. She would stop to thank the occasional person who stopped by to give her some money, or to chat to someone that wandered up to her, while the karaoke track continued playing in the background, and then pick up where in the song the karaoke track had progressed to once she was freed up again.

Across the road from her was a temple, Longshan Temple, which was very splendorous even at night, and apparently still open to visitors too, though I didn’t go in. I haven’t visited any temples in Taipei yet and indeed may not end up doing so this trip.

And finally, going down from the entrance near her put me in a small underground shopping complex that eventually led toward the Longshan Temple MRT Station, but first brought me past a couple notable points of interest, like these statues:

And this eatery place where a lot of older locals were gathered and watching TV.

It was like a mini community center!

I returned home safely from there and had a glorious shower to rid myself of all the day’s grime (and tossed everything I owned into the washing machine for good measure too).

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 18

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 20

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