What do you do if you are the village one train stop down from a very popular tourist-trail village? You come up with a hook to snag some of that tourist traffic. In this case, Houtong Village sits on the next stop past where anyone going to Pingxi to float some paper lanterns or Shifen to see the waterfall would exit.
The hook they came up with? Cats.
As usually happens on daytrips out of the city, we stop briefly at a street market on the way back. As it happens, the fascinating farm of the frenzied friendly foot-feeding fish was in the mountains of Hsinchu county, the route to and from took us through the town of Beipu, which has a nice street market. Unlike last time at the Wulai city center in which we only had a few minutes, this time we had an hour to wander around before we had to hop back on the bus.
So here are the pictures of the Beipu old street market I was able to get in that time.
Apparently, this is a thing. You put your feet in a pool of fish, commonly known as doctor fish, and let them munch away the dead skin cells. Not only is this a thing, but it seems to be a popular thing with many countries having their own foot-feeding-fish spas. While in some places it's cleanliness has been challenged (it has been banned in some states in the US as well as some Canadian provinces) it's popularity seems to be growing and in recent years Cyprinion macrostomum fish (the most common type of doctor fish) features have been popping up all over Taiwan.
In 2010, the city of Taipei played host to the World Flora Exhibition and while most of the exhibits were disassembled at the conclusion of that exhibition a few of the more popular ones remain. The Dreams Pavilion, located in Xinsheng Park, is one of these. The Dreams Pavilion is essentially a series of multimedia, interactive art installations set in a series of connected gallery spaces. All of the installations share a floral theme and interact with visitors in different ways, usually via photosensors or an RFID bracelet handed out at the entrance.
You know those pictures of 3D sidewalk chalk drawings that you’ll occasionally get forwarded into your inbox by a co-worker? This is like that, except that you’re encouraged to both step in to the images and to take pictures.
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