Ximending, Taipei

just outside the MRT station, Ximen Ding, Taipei
Since Mom had to go back to work the week of Christmas day, Dad, Wendy and I spent a lot of time wandering around the city aimlessly. We went to Ximending and had Mister Donut. Wendy went into a bunch of stores to look at bags and funny stuffed animals (Taiwan has plenty of both!).

best stuffed animal ever: orca eating a seal

funny octopus animals

Despite Ximending feeling pretty clean and quite ... ze nao (I can never find a good translation for that word -- but I'm not sure what the pinyin would be, either. Doh!), there were still signs that Taiwan isn't quite there yet. For example, next to the fancy stores and kids dressed in super-modern attire, there was a guy in a cart with his bare feet up in the air... right next to a food stand.

just the thing to make you hungry: a dude on a cart showing his feet.

When I mentioned the old dude and his feet, one of our family friends replied, "That's freedom!"

I responded, "Yeah, but freedom doesn't have to be dirty!"

(He also said that the moon "looks clearer" in Taiwan).

I've also never understood why smokers wear face masks in Asia. I mean, why try to protect yourself from particulate matter in the air if you're going to suck in concentrated particulate matter?

the perfect complement to a face mask: a lit cigarette

Anyway, here are a few more photos:

tea surrounded by weird stuffed animals

ximending crosswalk

a bag store wendy spent considerable time in

each lunar month, paper money is burned for the spirits

i like to buy meat, too, when I go shopping for clothing.

[see all photos @ flickr]