I have tried to sum up Taiwan in a sentence as a lead-in, but there are too many ways in which it steals one’s breath. I hope as you observe each frame in this series, it would transport you to a place in your mind that’s hard to put your finger on, and that you don’t even try. Instinctively I began making comparisons of Taiwan with other countries (like a Japan but in a less foreign language) as we know them. In retrospect, letting these stereotypes and expectations rest is allowing me to relive Taiwan as it was. Benevolent, deeply-rooted and closely-knit. Conscientious yet relaxed, always in symmetry. I hope these two rolls of film reveal its heart to you as they best can, while bringing back fond memories if you had been.
Our all-sufficient Airbnb was situated next to Dongmen Train Station. Even as day turned to night, it remained a great lookout point. We would hold everything down while ferocious winds threatened to blow our bottles of ciders, cans of beer, cheap shots, instant noodles, bentos and bags of chips away. As you can guess, my friends Jamie, Esther and I were huge on convenience store food.
Scrap that – it was just food in general, really. Also I went a little apeshit on anything Gudetama-themed within reach.
Late night beef noodles at Shida Market, our unanimous favourite of those we visited (Shilin, Raohe).
4×4 by a bun store.
Steamed buns (Pau and Mantou) were aplenty. A few cents and a fresh breakfast of assorted filling is settled.
The Folks is a coffee shop buried in suburban Da’an. It was wonderful even though we had walked an unexpected distance and couldn’t get a seat. Each cup was carefully and unhurriedly poured, and the Black Sugar Latte among other coffees we took away were delectable.
Trespassing a huge abandoned carpark at sunset
Several nights we would walk about 50 minutes back home in the cold, making stops in convenience stores for stewed tea eggs (those are the best!), tapioca pearl milk tea in hand. It’s very safe, but not something I would take for granted.
Nike Store at Dunhua
Zhongxiao Dunhua was my favourite shopping district, because of the experience of walking through each shop, and great selection of products offered. The brands contribute to a colourful, cultured patch on the map and draws a relatively young crowd.
Watched Rogue One (deserves another essay altogether) at 2am in Ximending. Great for nightlife, imagine six storeys of pure Karaoke fun, but you don’t have to imagine thanks to Party World.
Huashan Creative Park; arts in action every corner you turn.
More nightlife! Plenty of authentic Japanese joints.
One of the best parts was having locals take us around. The most delicious stinky tofu and tofu ice cream at Shen Keng were a cherry on top of Christmas night.