In Taiwan, strawberries are a winter fruit. Miaoli County, which sits south of Taipei, is the center of the strawberry universe. Every weekend dozens of tourist busses leave from Taipei Main Station filled with agro-tourists ready to strip the farms bare of anything with even the slightest red tinge followed by a stop off at the center of Miaoli City for some strawberry wine, strawberry ice cream, strawberries over shaved ice drowned in condensed milk, strawberry smoothies, strawberry candies, … you get the idea. There are even strawberry-flavored corn dogs and Taiwanese sausages.
A couple days ago I published an article about a recent trip to Houtong Village, a.k.a. the Cat Village, which was only a 30 minute train ride away from Taipei city. I love taking the train outside of the city and to any of the smaller stations in the more rural areas of the country. While surface traffic and the evergrowing need for real estate means that most TRA stations in Taipei city are underground, rural stations are by-in-large out in the open air with minimal cover just in case the weather turns rainy.
One of the benefits of living in the capitol city of any country are the memorials. Taipei is no exception, with the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial being my favorite due to the amazing amount of space dedicated to grass, trees, and a small lake.
Ximen Market (a.k.a. Hsimen Market, Ximending, ???, Hsimenting, etc…) has been a shopping center in Taipei since before Taiwan was a country. It was first designated as a shopping district by the Japanese during their rule of the island prior to World War II. For Chinese or Japanese-language linguaphiles this explains the ding character, which doesnt make a ton of sense in a Chinese context because it is a direct transfer of the same character in Japanese (cho), which does make sense. There have been shopping or entertainment venues in Ximen for over a century including the Red House Theater, which has been standing since 1908 and still stands.
A few months ago, one of the dogs I take care of developed cancer and passed away. She wasnt my longest-lived pet (Spree is still alive & kicking) but special in that she was rescued when my children were infants. My intention was for my twins and the dog, Kiki, to grow up together. Her death was soon, sudden, and was especially hard on my now 7-year old twins. After some discussion in which there was no dissension, we decided to have Kiki cremated and her ashes mixed into the soil of a tree at a relatively nearby pet cemetery.
Taiwan is the constant target of typhoons, especially from mid-July through mid-September (a.k.a. Typhoon Season). Thankfully, the city of Taipei is protected on the weather-ward side by a mountain chain that transects the island north-to-south like a scoliotic spine. It takes quite a powerful storm to cause Taipei any significant property damage. Typhoon Saola didnt pass muster.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.