Rested and caffeinated after our stop at the cafe, we headed out into the rainy night with our first stop being the electronics district. Our host was interested to see if he could purchase a GoPro for the same price or less than in the US so we perused various shops along the street to see what we could find.
We found the camera for sale but it was always more expensive than in the US. As a last resort we checked out Guang Hua Digital Plaza, which is a massive 6-story building filled with shops selling everything one might need to build his own computer and other devices.
As earlier, we did not find a GoPro at the price point we were looking for but we did find some great sources for lights and camera equipment.
We then headed for the train station to make our way to Huaxi Street Night Market and decided to get off of the train early so we could check out Ximending, Taipei’s Times Square. As expected, it was a large and busy intersection lined with all kinds of stores and huge billboards advertising everyday and luxury goods.
We also learned that Bruce Wayne like :chocoolate, and does the guts/tough-guy fist thing that we see on many election billboards around town. We wound our way down a pedestrian side street with even more shops and electronic billboards.
Surprisingly there were a lot of people out despite the wet and windy weather. There’s so much to see and hear that it’s hard to focus on just one thing at once. My host did notice, though, that it seems there are a lot of hair salons on the 2nd floors of building at various intersections throughout the city like the ones below.
Instead of catching a cab or taking the train we continued on foot to Huaxi via smaller side streets and alleyways.
I personally like street scenes like this as there are so many details one can pick up. You can click on the image above for a higher resolution version if you like that sort of thing, too.
We stopped by a famous temple near the street market, Mengjia Longshan Temple, which looked particularly splendid at night.
Here’s a detail of one of the dragons on the rooftops.
We finally made it to Huaxi night market and both the street vendors and crowds were a bit sparse, likely kept away by the weather.
There was still plenty to see and sample, though. Lots of stalls were selling raw fish but we passed in favor of the cooked varieties.
We then headed indoors to check out the market arcade.
We understand now why Huaxi street market is also known as Snake Alley as there were lots of snake products for sale and even some live snakes. Apparently shops used to kill, skin, and dismember snakes at the front of their shops but that practice has been banned so we only saw live snakes on display but we did see the old hooks and stains where their ancestors met their ends.
My host told me that usually there are stalls set up in the center of the arcade hallway so we definitely hit the market on an atypical night. Also, even though this is an indoor market, we frequently had to dodge motor scooters driving down the hall. We’ve seen this on sidewalks and even narrow alleyways that would be just for foot traffic back home. As my host explained, motor scooters and even cars are just larger pedestrians so don’t be surprised when we see them on the sidewalks. We definitely aren’t surprised any more.
After a long day we caught a cab back to Taipei station and had a dim sum dinner before catching an HSR train back to Zhubei for the evening. We took business class as the line was long for regular class tickets. Riders in business class are always served some sort of cookie or cake with a beverage (coffee, tea, water, or juice) and moist towlette.
It was a nice way to end the day.
And with that I’m going to put my seat back and relax for a bit. See you tomorrow.