Saturday 29 March 2008

Morning walk

We arrived in Taoyuan on Thursday afternoon, freshened up at the hotel and went for our meeting. In the evening, we were treated to a wonderful dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant. For the first time, I ate the infamous stinky tofu which turned out to be surprisingly good. The table was groaning under the weight of so many other dishes like braised pork knuckle, lion's head meat balls , drunken chicken, cod fish, seafood soup, bamboo shoot and so forth. Our hosts were really hospitable.

Conrad, being an Englishman, was obviously quite appalled at the prospect of having to eat something that smells like sewer or chopped up lion's meat. It didn't help that we saw a squawking goose farm enroute to the hotel where I saw his face turned a shade whiter.

I said, "Don't worry, these are made using pork, not lion's meat." Anyway, he nibbled some tofu but didn't touch the delicious meatball. Since he wasn't feeling too well that day, we went back to the hotel after dinner.

I got up early the next morning and went for a walk around the neighbourhood.

We stayed at Monarch Plaza, the only 5-star hotel in this tiny province, so we were paying 3-star rates.

I came across a man on a unicycle. In case you're wondering if everyone here rides a unicycle, the answer is no. This was the only one I saw.

The pavement was lined with pretty flowers in red, pink and white.

I love these trees that have nothing but big peach-coloured flowers on their branches.

At 7.30am in the morning, the streets were starting to come alive with people walking their dogs, sending their kids to school and getting ready for work. The shops were still shut but I managed to see the locals going about their daily lives.

A cabbage plant outside a house.

While many Taiwanese go about on their scooters, there was no lack of luxury cars on the road. I didn't see any poverty around here.
In fact, I saw many opulent buildings such as this.

This modern library building belongs to the primary school right across our hotel.

I saw many parent volunteers at the road junctions and near the school gates, directing traffic and making sure the kids are safe. Here, it is interesting to see how they can form an impromptu crossing using flags.

Kids streaming into the school.

The streets started getting busy at around 8am.

Even in the city, there are small pockets of farmland in between the tall buildings.

An elderly man tending to his small cabbage patch and tiny vegetable garden.

Some of the farmland behind city dwellings are paddy fields. I wonder what they were planning to grow here.

This roadside plant looks like a mulberry tree.

It's hard to believe that this street is right next to the farm.

It's common to find a small but intricately carved temple next to a huge mansion or apartment building. Perhaps they are there to protect the buildings but I like the contrasting architecture.

This is one of the luxurious residential developments in the city. There were several stern looking security guards patrolling the premises. When I took a photo of the facade, one of them pointed and yelled at me. I simply walked away, hoping that he would not run after me or consficate my camera.

A tiny canal runs through the city, poviding irrigation to some of the small farms nearby.

More of my favourite trees and a small temple at the cross junction.


Anonymous said...

i've smelled that stinky tofu..when I was in Taoyaun before! I wouldn't mind tasting it...if only I could get near enough to it...! it's like that durian stuff.....

mooiness said...

I'm liking the eclectic mix of building styles as well. Very interesting.

Blur Ting said...

Haha JY, I think durian tastes and smells better :-)

Blur Ting said...

Mooiness - I'm sure you'll like it there. It kinda reminds me of Penang.

Michelle said...

Lovely photos and descriptions.

Some really amazing buildings. :-)

The World According To Me said...

I love those trees too. So pretty.

I can't stop looking at the pictures, some great shots.

I'm intrigued about the stinky tofu!

Blur Ting said...

Michelle - I like older buildings that have character. Actually, all kinds of interesting buildings too. I aspired to be an architect when I was growing up.

Blur Ting said...

Hi World - I know you love traveling too. :-)
The stinky tofu smells like some kind of cheese. The texture is soft and mushy. The dish we had was very well cooked. The sauce, garnishing and flavours masked the 'sewer-like' smell. If you ignore the smell, it tasted really good actually.

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