Our daughter and her boyfriend were visiting us recently (visitors! we had visitors!) so we took them to Keelung, one of our favorite places.
They had already visited us for a week then went to Thailand for a week to visit his sister and were stopping by for 24 hours on their way back to New York. We had a lot to pack into 24 hours.
We picked them up from the airport and whisked them to the hotel. Their plane was late so we thought we had to skip the first market, but they were ready for an adventure. First stop…Keelung Night Market. Jaime was willing to try anything.
We nearly closed down the market at 1 am and staggered back to the hotel. We had a slow start the next morning. But there was time to buy a couple kites from the vendors outside the fish market.
Then it was into the fish market. There is an aquarium recently opened in Keelung, but I don’t know how it can compete with the variety seen in this fish market. The fish were so fresh that the market didn’t smell fishy at all. And the colors!
After a little breakfast sashimi,
we took our guests along the coast and up the mountains to the old gold mining town of Jiufen. Now it is primarily a tourist town. The old street is fascinating. It’s filled with interesting stalls and shops.
Then it was time for a quick drive back to the airport and waving farewell to Laine and Jaime.
It felt like the day before a holiday in the market this morning. It was kind of like shopping the day before Thanksgiving. It’s crowded and you have a long list, but it’s right before a favorite holiday and most everyone is in a good mood looking forward to spending a special time with family and friends. Plus there were far more sparkly items than usual. My favorite vegetable stands added holiday bows to pineapples, radishes, and big citrus fruits.
The Taiwanese staff at school threw a party to show the foreign teachers what Chinese New Year’s is all about. They set up tables of traditional foods, crafts and mahjong. I am really terrible at writing Chinese characters but the dumplings and radish cake were wonderful and I am a big fan of candied peanuts and ginger candy.
There were explanatory signs for everything.
And Amy did a great job of explaining why each food was special for this time of year. One of the special foods is a radish (or turnip – the words seemed to be used interchangeably). The wand Amy is holding is a radish.
7-11 has holiday decals of radishes and money gods on the door.
Tim found a holiday night market not too far from his place. We explored it last night. As always, there were plenty of street food options to choose from. I have to admit that I got most excited about the stuffed Indian roti. Most of the Indian food here is expensive and not all that good. The quail eggs looked interesting.
Several holiday stalls had lots of red and gold decorations to sell. I get the impression they would be 4th of July fireworks stands but fireworks are available in every grocery store and 7-11 so there’s no need for extra stands.
Saturday is New Year’s Eve and then there are festivities for the next five days. The school is on vacation all next week. It will be a relatively quiet time at home for us which we are looking forward to.
Happy New Year to all of you!