Birds of Taipei

Last week I spent two days in Taipei city, mainly to visit museums and galleries but am on the look out for birds also, so took my camera and kept my eyes open, here a few of the feathered friends I bumped into in some parks there.

This is a Black-collared Starling , it caught my eye.

A Common Myna, there are a lot here, they are entertaining to watch.

Homing or Rock pigeon/dove, very common in Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia.

Magpie, one of my favourite birds, due to their white markings and behaviour, they seem more intelligent than some other birds.

Ok thanks for reading, will keep looking for more birdies, I’m getting quite into them, Sam.

Laundrette

Every week I come here, for the past three weeks anyway, I’m in the routine now. I have rarely used a laundrette, but it is an interesting experience, feels like I’m in the US, perhaps like an advert for Levis.

The week before last, another volunteer, staying with us at Homgoo Village also used the public laundrette here, but he managed to block the money slot, apparently the staff were extremely patient, as they tried to work out what the problem was, but my view of the incident was from across the street, through a cafe window, to me the laundrette staff member looked really angry, as he was waving his arms all over the place, it’s interesting how things can so easily be miss read, by me atleast, though maybe he had a polite voice, but his frustrations were coming out through his arms.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Night Market

We went to a local night market last week, in the neighbouring town Touchen, there was a wide variety of street foods and mini pinball machines, here are some shots.

A healthy concoction, slightly minty, no one else was into it, but I often like to try the healthy thing, so bought a bottle and downed it, I’m still waiting for the effects, maybe I need to drink it everyday.

Rice bun hotdogs, instead of bread they used a glutenous rice sausage, cut across with a meat sausage inside, with some sauce, they looked and smelled good, my stomach was already filled to the brim, so I didn’t try them, next time I will, minus the meat though.

Sweet potato balls, covered in batter, nice and light, interesting and very hot, thanks for sharing with me Cheng-Han.

MEAT!!! barbecued on sticks with spices, if only I was a meat eater, I can imagine that savoury, tastines, after 30+ years of eating meat, and a period of unhappy tummies in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, I quit it and now it is rarely attractive, except for the occasional piece of fried chicken, or pork dumplings.

This guy sells pancake style, savoury snacks, filled with vegetables, tasty!

This lady was selling steamed pork and glutenous rice, wrapped in banana leaves, this looks very similar to what I had many times in Vietnam, but you can often get a variety of fillings, including red bean, or with a savoury nut mixture, they are very sticky, which makes the texture so great.

Kids and adults here are enjoying pinball machines, much more physically interactive than what we have on a 2D screen, I guess playing on a phone or computer gets boring eventually, and it’s just nice to get more physical.

I enjoyed seeing and trying these local street foods in Taiwan. Food is a really interesting part of living and traveling in different countries, with a strong link between peoples, cultures and the land they live and were raised on, especially in areas like this, where food is grown and eaten locally, it’s very interesting.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Taipei peaceful

On visiting Taipei and Taiwan in general, you really get a sense of how connected with nature and humanity it is here, with beautiful parks teeming with wildlife and a broad array of human past times and expression, the central train station wall was packed with picnicking muslims. There are temples dotted around between the Churches and occasional casinos and tourist attractions, subway stations and government buildings are open with a minimal level of security, I feel people are given the opportunity to be responsible, and in return they are responsible, to a higher degree, I feel, than I have seen in the UK and Beijing, the effects on people is evident.

Here is the subway station, Daan Park, the area outside has been made into a sitting area with garden, a water fountain creates a very peaceful sound to relax in, there are a few cafes next to it, but the level of expense and consideration is amazing, considering the low profitability of those businesses, it is very much a free space for the benefit of the public, seeing and experiencing these kinds of spaces, really fills me with an appreciation towards the authorities that sees the benefit in helping people be happy.

I was attending an afternoon Qi Gong class, which I discovered through meetup.com, thanks to the teacher Yuli Qian for the lesson, if your in Taipei, you can join the class here. I have been practicing Qi Gong for some time and find it is great for energy and keeping everything ache free, normally I use this free video, but the class I took with Yuli was very interesting, a different style from what I am used to, plus she taught us some theory, a few basics about TCM, traditional Chinese medicine, I hope to learn more in the future, I do prefer the focus on prevention rather than cure.

Right next to where we had the class was a small lake, and in the middle of it was an island, perching on trees there was hundreds of herons. I’ve never seen so many, they are surprisingly noisy, when we retreat to nature for some quiet, we sometimes quickly discover that it is as noisy as the city streets, just different types of sounds, our neighbours with fur, feathers and scales in conflict, cooperating together and consuming, many parallels with us humans.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #38 – Weathered or Worn

I had just spotted this challenge on another blog, I like things that have a history, nature has the nack of helping things communicate it, by eroding and rotting away concrete, wood and metal, the seemingly permanent materials we make our cities with degrade surprisingly quick when deluges of water and people run against them, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was a fine place to capture this.

Looking through my photos, I chose the following “worn and weathered” photos, this is one of the things that really attracted me, keeping me in Ho Chi Minh city for 4 years, and maybe I’ll be back there one day soon to enjoy the city and elements. The weather is quite extreme, with a constant heat of around 30 celcius and a rainy season may to October, which regularly results in floods, nature is a very strong force there, spend a few hours beside the turbulent Saigon River to get a good sense of this, nature is really apparent as a provider and enforcer, in the region.

A streetside cafe, with the newly introduced Burger King in the background, a fairly recent addition to the city, there were very few, perhaps on one or two, when I first arrived in 2014 and many exist now, spotted throughout the city when I left in 2017.

Close to where I lived in the suburbs, amount the low rise neighbourhoods, featuring lots of trees, street side fruit and vegetable stalls and local restaurants and cafes, coffe being very popular in the south. On the South of Saigon River is this neighbourhood, particularly interesting for its historical longevity, much of the city seems to have gone through constant change, due to the nature of buildings, being less long lasting and in need of regular maintenance, along with the introduction of wealth allowing for upgrades, being a fast growing economy, people are naturally moving forward, improving living conditions and this is all happening at a very fast rate, it will be interesting, if not a little daunting to return in a few years time, to see all the changes that will no doubt have taken place.

Thanks for reading, Sam.