Saturday, July 09, 2005

Antiques and Fish

Yesterday Hiyoshi's Japanese student canceled, so he was free to make the trip to The National Palace Museum that we weren't able to make on Thursday. After class we hopped on the MRT to Shilin Station and then caught a little bus to the museum. As usual, it started to rain on us. Everytime we go somewhere it rains on us. We're getting used to it by now. No matter, the museum would keep us dry!

Although I've been to the museum three times before, each trip is just as awe-inspiring as the first. Sadly, the museum is currently undergoing extensive renovation, and many of the items are not on display. I'll be looking forward to the end of all this construction so I can see some of the things I remember from my first visit in 2002. The items they currently show are some of the most exquisite things I've ever seen, and I just want to touch them, to feel each tiny detail. I have a lot of photos of my Sept. 2004 visit posted, if you haven't seen them:

After finishing up at the museum, we decided to take a stroll through Chishan Gardens, which is right next to the museum. Even though it was raining, it was just a light sprinkle, so we headed into the almost-deserted garden, stopping to rest a bit at a covered pavilion, sitting on small stools carved from some beautiful wood. One could almost believe one had travelled back to ancient China - until the pounding and sawing from the construction shattered that illusion :) We walked a bit more (and I somehow managed to convince Hiyoshi to sing me a Japanese children's song, that was fun - and no, he can't really sing), stopping again at another pavilion on the lake to watch the fish. They were swarming at the top of the water, thinking the raindrops were bugs landing. The fish range from tiny black ones that can barely be seen under the water to huge koi carp in all sorts of glittering colors. Hiyoshi must have been quite hungry, because he kept talking about fishing, saying the black ones were the tastiest ones. We watched some girls feeding the fish from the bridge, and when we continued our walk, we discovered the fish food dispenser! Oh, what fun. We each bought a packet of food and headed to the bridge. I laughed myself silly watching the fish swimming on top of each other, right out of the water, trying to get the little nuggets of food. Some of the tiny fish would even swim into the mouths of the bigger fish trying to grab it! I would have happily spent a lot more money buying food and feeding them, but we had other plans. If you'd like to see my prior photos of Chishan Gardens, here they are:

As we were leaving the museum, I heard a woman calling, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" Turned around, and the group of people we'd seen inside, filming some of the exhibits with a movie camera (and managing to block my way so I couldn't see some of the best porcelain) were coming our way. One woman asked me if I could speak Chinese, and I said I could speak a little. She asked if they could interview me for a TV program they were filming. Yeah, just what I wanted. I'm wet, my hair is a frizzy mess, I'm wearing a huge black t-shirt over biking shorts, and my face is a greasy blob from all the humidity. I said no. They didn't listen to me. Next thing I knew, I have a TV camera in my face and I'm giving an interview, in Chinese. Why does this always happen to me? I had the same experience last September when Romita and I were walking by a temple! Do I have a sign on my back that reads "Media persons please accost me!"? At least I don't have to suffer through seeing myself on TV, since I don't have cable. Hopefully no one I know will watch that program.

Thursday night Hiyoshi had watched a TV show which featured a night market called Tong Hua Night Market, close to Liuzhangli Station. He wanted to go check it out, and since I hadn't any other plans, I agreed to go with him. And yes, it was still raining. We were soooo hungry by the time we got back to Taipei Main Station, but we wanted to find something good at the night market, so we made ourselves wait. It turned out that the market was quite a long walk from the station, but we finally found it and started cruising for food. The rain was keeping away a lot of people, so it was very easy to navigate the narrow street. It was around 7:00 p.m. before we found a spot that had seats inside out of the rain, cheap prices, and an interesting menu. I got mixed seafood fried rice, and Hiyoshi got some noodle soup with seafood. We shared that plus a little plate of huang gua (tiny cucumbers marinated in sesame oil, vinegar, and red peppers). Afterwards, we really wanted to get something icy for desert, but those places didn't have seats, and it would have been too hard to walk and eat while holding our umbrellas.

We got Hiyoshi back to the station in time to catch his bus to Wan Li, and I actually managed to find a seat on the train home (yay!). I got home around 10:30 p.m., and I was exhausted! DZ was very happy to see me, so I stayed up and played with her, read for awhile, finally crashed around 12:30.

Today was a rather lost day, because I woke up with a killer headache and an upset stomach. I felt so sick that I went back to bed and just kinda dozed until almost 4:00. DZ stayed in bed with me most of the time, actually behaving herself and just sleeping. Ugh, I hate feeling like that, and I hate throwing up, but I knew if I didn't, I'd never feel better. Maybe it was the seafood fried rice.... At least I'm feeling fine now, and I did manage to get laundry done and even some studying! Go me.


Romita said...

Yeah, I remember that interview outside the temple. Was it the temple to pray for love/marriage? Ha!

You must post pictures of DZ.

Nicole said...

Eeeewwww, I remember those interviews. Andrew once was asked whether he thought French or Italian men make better lovers. And he's supposed to know this how...? LMAO!