Pictured below is a reminder that nothing can be perfect, even if this means that we ourselves have to insert an imperfection.
Like the legendary carved gates that the artists made asymmetric on purpose, so that they don’t anger gods by creating something flawless. In the same way, the incredible taiwanese night markets have to have a flaw. So that we walk in them reassured that a small imperfection took care of this issue, and nothing worse can happen.
Also, pictured below is “stinky tofu”. And as the rumour has it, it actually tastes better than it smells.
The tourist who walks down the miracle of a night market will often wonder why there is such a widespread problem with sewage. There is no problem with sewage. This is the stinky tofu. Lending its distinct smell to an otherwise flawless evening – and eventually becoming a part of it.
The mini winter street food of the historical centre will begin at Monastiraki square. (The fruit stands are deserted in the rain but koulouria are always dependable.)
A walk through the market alleys…
…leads to waffle cubes and cuteness.
Turning back and taking Ermou, the high fashion street…
means it’s time for creative-ethnic koulouri sandwich (resisting for now the roasted corn and chestnuts outside).
Walking through Plaka brings along the sun, lurking pigeons and sachets of dried nuts,
just in case anyone’s hungry on the walk towards Koukaki,
and to a warming souvlaki next to Syggrou-Fix metro station.
Right at an iconic urban spot for letting the day set in the halo of distant sea-reflected light.
I remember roaming through the vibrant, old, slightly mysterious Raohe night market for vietnamese sandwiches and medicinal herbs. And the usual late evening snack among families having dinner on tin stalls, gamblers, couples’ cute food on sticks and the constant shouting of a thousand sellers or so.
The equally vibrant, old and slightly mysterious Ciyou temple sits next to the start of Raohe street.
Going past the captivating facade on one lazy noon and to the back side. Unexpectedly smooth?
And, across the street, the wall separating Songshan neighborhood from Keelung river. Pass the gate and what do you find — an urban blue and green calmness punctuated by joggers, rowers, high bridges and a ferris wheel in the distance. Taipei both sides.
Nativity, “Basil cakes”, piles of Christmas sweets,
sponges and spices in the old downtown,
cured meat, neoclassical buildings, end-of-year shopping in the sun.
I remember days spent in constant awe of beauty,
now with memories of people that I don’t know.
I remember the afternoon pulse through a whole city — the corners of countless small izakaya.
Idoru festival; fans waiting for face time with their idols.
Ice cream is the only food that can be eaten in public, ergo vendors on subway platforms.
Fab Cafe, coffee shop with 3D printers and space plants.
Refreshing cucumber on a stick.