Today was another day for exploring the city of Taipei on the bike. We are quickly coming to appreciate the advantages of this kind of travel. We’ve explored most of Asia by motorbike. Time and time again, we are treated to fascinating and tantalising aspects of culture we might otherwise miss in the confines of a car. A motorized bicycle of any kind is definitely an asset to the wandering traveler, especially if you like to make a lot of stops.
This afternoon, we set off for Caves Bookstore and the Grand Hotel. Once again, the chaotic and bustling streets of Taipei caused our spontaneous natures to be sidetracked by the traditional Chinese medicine market at DiHua Street in Taipei. Perhaps the best part of traveling for us is stumbling upon these small little worlds that we don’t even know exist. We always eagerly grab these opportunities when they present themselves and are never ever disappointed. This market proved no exception to the rule and we were instantly lured in by the plethora of strange and exotic goods.
We saw giant plastic bags full of all sorts of mushroom, fungi and, my personal favorite, the ever-enchanting elephant ear fungi. The gorgeous assortment of tea in color was a pleasure to the eyes. Plastic bins played host to an eye catching assortment of traditional health and body teas. Shark cartilage, dried sea cucumbers, dried whole squid, pickled ginger root, abalone and other delightful natural fish products assaulted the senses.
We are astounded at the number of natural remedies that are instantly available here for a mighty high price tag. Nonetheless, it was a fascinating glimpse into daily life and I was instantly reminded of the old street markets in China. We never did make it to the Grand Hotel, but we weren’t too disappointed as the day proved to hold other treasures for us. And, after all, tomorrow is another day.