Dispatch #2: Taipei, Taiwan

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Greetings from vibrant, lively, fast-paced and cosmopolitan Taipei, Taiwan. The temperature is in the low 70’s; this is a good time to visit Taipei before it gets too hot. When I first traveled to Taipei it was in late April when the temperatures climbed to the mid-80’s before 9:00 am and by mid-day pedestrians and commuters were sparse until early evening. The only other place I’d experienced such intense heat and humidity was in the city-state of Singapore.

One bi-product of the subtropical climate in Taipei is an abundance of “exotic” fruits and vegetables on display in outdoor markets. I gleefully took snapshots of brightly colored and multi-textured papayas, melons and citrus and greens of which I don’t know the names. Ironically, the US remains the top exporter of certain fruits like apples, peaches, table grapes, cherries, plums untitled52.jpgand oranges to Taiwan. In my opinion peeling an apple doesn’t compare to the sensual experience of eating a succulent litchi or pineapple with a lover. Subliminal messages of “eat me”; “suck it” and “taste me” drip with every juicy bite of jackfruit, papaya and mango. Can I get a witness?

The early morning is not only a good time to venture outdoors for food shopping but one will also see groups of elderly people wearing matching t-shirts participating in Chinese fitness and meditation activities in the parks. The climate and mid-day shower storms are another factor in making this a 24-hour city. It’s just too hot or wet to be taking a leisurely stroll outdoors.

I so enjoy this city. If you haven’t a clue about the vibe here think pleasure seeking Manhattan cosmonauts on steroids minus the threat of crime and considerably less expensive. Taipei is a late night city with jammed packed open-air night markets, clubs, and restaurants that serve traditional and creative fusion dishes. The soundtrack for Taipei is hip-hop and R & B streaming from audio systems on the sidewalks, in stores, in the subway and other public venues just about everywhere in the central metro districts. The locals might not be able to tell you what the songs are about or who the artists are but they do LOVE them some Black music!

untitled1.jpgTaipei is a city that brings the best of East Asian and Western cultures—a convergence of influences from Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Berlin, and Mainland China. It’s Friday night and folks are fixing to get dey groove on. Earlier this evening I ventured out to join the school kids, office workers, and shoppers here in the central business district. I made a beeline to Artland Book Co. a fabulous resource for anyone interested in design arts, whether it is interior design, architecture, photography, graphic arts, illustration, jewelry, fashion, or product design. Last year, I purchased Japanese interior design magazines and architectural books (for small spaces) to help me pull together a color scheme for my apartment.

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