Big news you guys! I found out that a few of my photos survived the lost phone incident some how... I won't question it though, they are there and that is all that matters.
Although I returned home only a week ago, my travels through Asia feel like they took place in the last century; a distant beautiful memory painted across the canvas of my brain. There was Japan... then Shanghai? We don't need to talk about that... it was a place I have been that is densely covered in yellow pollution that filled my lunges for a day too long. Also the IT guy at our hotel informed me that, "Websites such as google (and facebook) are broken here." shout out to government control not letting me google ANYTHING or check my email for two days. All that to say, I did have the most divine Americano at a little coffee shop where there was the CUTEST puppy named Burrito... so maybe it wasn't all bad.
Taipei was amazing. That is all. No, it's not all... I went to dinner with two friends at this strange little place called the Loving Hut (no joke) and we COOKED our dinner which, for me, was a balm for the soul. We had hot pots with loads of veggies that bubbled happily and burned our mouths but we didn't care because it was far too good.
I walked through the city, it's jagged sky line forming rows of crooked teeth in endless succession. I decided to defy Siris directions and cut through a park only to find a brilliant (animated) art museum. There was a Minions exhibit and one for Disney where the characters were all cute and Japanese. I crossed the street and sat in the window at a little coffee shop. I wrote down memories from the trip, my head was pounding but my heart was so content. I sat there for ages and watched the world go by, it was beautiful; when I smiled at people who passed their faces burst with light, shining joy into the universe (this did NOT happen in Shanghai... you smile at people and they look at you like "what is wrong with you?").
There was a woman on the street corner selling sweet potatoes. She roasted them over coals in a barrel and sold them for (next to) nothing. So simple, so delicious. I bought dried flowers from a girl on a bike and a post card from a local artist selling in the stalls by the museum. It was crowded for a Monday (I found out later it was a national holiday) but I didn't mind, the people were happy and laughing, excited by all the amazing trinkets for sale.
The light filtering through the clouds over head gave a calm sort of energy to the otherwise chaotic city. It was strange. Even thought there were (literally) thousands of vespas zooming by and cars and busses running the streets raw, it never felt overwhelming. People were doing what they set out to do, simple and to the point. It was nice.
It's funny looking back. When we first pulled into the city I didn't know what to expect. It looked forgotten. But little did I know just how alive and vibrant it is. Taipei you are beautiful, warm, and wonderful, I hope to come again one day.