Perched at the edge of the Shi'lin market road, as she munched harmlessly onto some veggies, a taxi driver harkened in the background, collecting all his English words with great effort, an unmatched prowess to convey: "Eu... Eu...ahr a rabbit!" Huh, what! And,then came the aha moment, well yeah, I was munching on a carrot. He wasn't the only one, almost every third passerby was slightly amused at a carrot muncher, so was the shop keeper who broke into genuine hundred percent laughter. Of course, even you would, if 95 shops in your market sold every variety of meat possible, and the other 5 had fruits (rose apples that leak and burst in your mouth!). This was the story of every lunch and dinner in Taiwan, the vegetarian grumbling and fussing drones in the air, "NOT meat, not chicken, not beef, not pork, not fish, not salmon, not eggs...ve-jee-tay-rean". This baffled most people there, there remains little to eat, though you can always resort to rice cakes, tofu and bean pastes!
Anecdote two: KFC is home
So, after a satisfying shopping spree for 2.5 hours, hunger screamed from the deepest corners of my stomach. This is how I thought of food in Taiwan: Hunger-food-daal-rice-not-vegetables-fruits-mcdonalds-all non veg-despair-hunger-apples-sigh. But, I thought to take my chances, to go to KFC to eat vegetarian, yes, something a normal Indian vegetarian would never do. Of course I found nothing, but I desperately bought a beverage. As I sipped on it, the familiar taste, of at least something tasting the same made me feel so good! For people who scream hoarse at these capitalist food chains, there are certain experiences that only KFC and McDonalds reproduce anywhere you go. Thank God for that.
Story of the city, workshop and scrubbed clean solitude:
The workshop to begin with, was good, very vague but, a lot of food for thought. The people I met, never had imagined meeting someone from Kyrgyztan or Moldova, but I did and loved it! The city, yes, how American! All clean, large 'freeways', less people, the modern buildings, typical urban imagination, tall and shiny. Maybe its just a scared little girl's first time in the foreign lands, but it was so different than where I live. Not only do cows and dogs stay out of the picture, but also the personal space seemed larger. The freeways to me, seemed hopelessly alone, or maybe I am just very uncomfortable with halogen lamps and buzzing cars. These are the fleeting impressions of Taipei, though something remarkable to leave you all with: the way the people thank and welcome anybody at all. Shie shie, for all the warmth.
Bah-bye (head tilted at 45 and hand shows peace sign) :)