Go west, young (wo)man
Dragon Boat Festival fell on a Tuesday this year, giving many people a four day weekend. I decided to go explore a little more of western Taiwan, since I've been on the east for the majority of my time here. I passed through briefly during my first Chinese New Year in 2005.
I spent most of the weekend in Chang-hua, with some time in Taizhong as well.
Chang-hua has a really beautiful agricultural area where there are tons of flowers growing and being sold. It also has a giant Buddha statue at the top of a mountain.
Closer to the coast is a small town called Lugang with an old street. There's lots of fresh seafood for sale there as well as a lot of local crafts. I didn't buy anything this time, but visited a couple of temples and a really narrow street called "breast touch alley" Taizhong has a big night market which was suffocatingly crowded when we visited it. Here's one picture of the crowd we had to push through to get out!
An interesting observation about Taiwanese culture is "ming can" or famous food. Every town in Taiwan has its "specialty food" that it seems one must buy when visiting there, and if possible bring some back for friends and relatives. Often this is one of the only places in Taiwan you can get that particular dish or treat. One of the people I met up with had made a list. Now people make shopping lists, on holiday they make lists of places they want to visit. But this list was entirely of different foods he wanted to eat from various places! So we spent a considerable amount of time standing in line to get certain foods from certain places, though to me, the actual food seemed more or less the same as what you can buy elsewhere. Sometimes I think Taiwanese people are crazy! The more people in line, the more they want to try something! They're willing to wait a lot longer than I would for a simple snack. One of the items on the list was chicken feet. You can see them here, as well as the line we waited in. They looked to me like all the other chicken feet I've seen in Taiwanese night markets, but apparently they're "special" I didn't buy any, but the other 3 people I was with bought about 8 boxes between them!
Finally, here are a few more pictures from the weekend. Did I mention it was extremely hot? It's been over 30 for a couple of weeks now