Thursday, July 28, 2016

Things to Do: Shilin Night Market, Taipei, Taiwan


Shilin Night Market  Located just outside the MRT JianTan Station.  A triangular section of wide pedestrian lanes makes this an easy market to maneuver.  It is the most popular night market in town.  The story is that items get cheaper the farther away you get from the entrance, so take time to look before you buy.  The don’t-miss item here is fermented stinky tofu, which you will recognize easily when you smell it.  I think it looks as bad as it smells.  The one person in our group brave enough to put it in her mouth did not like it, and the rest of us stayed far away from her.  More fragrant and inexpensive Taiwanese snacks include oyster omelets, fried rice noodles, tempura, spring rolls, rice tube pudding, and Tainan Danzai noodles.  The big souvenir hit with our group was cute cat socks from Korea.  A new Market Building has a basement food hall.  

entrance to Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
entrance to Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

fruit stand at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
fruit stand at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

drink stand at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
drink stand at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

food stall at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
food stall at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

fishing for shrimp at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
fishing for shrimp at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

stinky tofu at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
stinky tofu at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

throngs at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
throngs at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

cute cat socks from Korea at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
cute cat socks from Korea at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

balloon arcade game at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
balloon arcade game at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Things to Do: Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure, in Hanamaulu, Kauai, Hawaii


Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure  $106; watershoe rental, $3.  On this soft adventure, participants tube through the ditches, tunnels, and flumes that once irrigated a sugar cane plantation.  Locals call it "flumin' da ditch."  Transportation to the ditches is via a 1972 six-wheel yellow Swiss Army vehicle made in Austria.  The 45-minute journey takes you through wide-open cow country dotted with herons.  There is no whitewater or paddling here.  Just a gentle 2 ½-mile float along some abandoned irrigation pipes.  Most of the float trip is in the dark, through five narrow hand-dug tunnels.  Our young guide said playfully, “We are not allowed to initiate, but we are allowed to retaliate.  Splash once, we splash back.  Twice, and we might flip you over.”  


relaxing on the Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure
relaxing on the Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure


exiting the water on the Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure
exiting the water on the Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure


More things to do in Kauai.

More information about Kauai.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sights to See: Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan


Taipei 101  in Xinyi District.  This landmark skyscraper was the world's tallest from 2004 until 2010, when the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai.  In 2011 it became the tallest and largest green building in the world, with eco-friendly double windows tinted to reflect UV.  It has 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground, and a multi-level shopping mall adjoins with hundreds of stores, restaurants, and clubs.  This landmark can be seen from around the city and was even visible way across town from my hotel room.  


Tapei 101 seen from across town, in Taipei, Taiwan
Tapei 101 seen from across town, in Taipei, Taiwan


LOVE sculpture, in front of Tapei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan
LOVE sculpture, in front of Tapei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan


view from Tapei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan
view from Tapei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan


Hello Kitty souvenirs at Tapei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan
Hello Kitty souvenirs at Tapei 101, in Taipei, Taiwan

More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sights to See: National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan


National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall  No.21, Zhongshan S.Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., 886-2-2343-1100.  Daily 9am-6pm.  Situated in the heart of Taipei, the main hall here, built in 1980, is dominated by a large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek.  It is reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Inscriptions on the wall above and behind the seated figure are the Chinese characters for Ethics, Democracy, and Science--considered the Three Principles of the People.  Grey marble in this hall is from Taroko National Park, and white marble is from the U.S.  Time your visit to see the impressive changing of the guards.  The large crowd quiets for the ceremony, but once it is done the echoing in the gigantic chamber is very loud.  Guards are not supposed to blink, but I did, indeed, catch one blinking, though, unfortunately, not on camera.  A museum with some interesting historical paintings is situated on the first floor.  

exterior of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
exterior of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan

interior of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
interior of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan

visitors filming changing of the guard ceremony at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
visitors filming changing of the guard ceremony at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan

guard at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
guard at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan






art museum at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
art museum at National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan

More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   

images & video ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sights to See: Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple, Taipei, Taiwan


Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple  No. 211 Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District.  Daily 6am-10:20pm.  Free.  Located in the historic Wanhua District--the old village part of Taipei--this Buddhist-Taoist temple has been here nearly 300 years, since 1738.  Though small, it is busy and is the best known temple in Taiwan.  The temple has stood through natural disasters and several wars, including a bombing by Americans in World War II (it was thought that in error that the Japanese were hiding weapons inside).  Three decorative gates with curling swallowtail eaves are positioned one within the next, and visitors are greeted when they walk through the first by an expansive courtyard with waterfall.

interior gate at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan
interior gate at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan


When I visited, the exterior was lined with hundreds of yellow lanterns, and the courtyard was filled with lantern decorations that were part of the Taiwan Lantern Festival extravaganza.

yellow lanterns decorate exterior of Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan
yellow lanterns decorate exterior of Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan


Features include elaborate stone and wood carvings.  Dedicated to Guanyin, the god of mercy, people come to the temple to worship more than 100 other gods and goddesses in side halls, including Matsu, goddess of the sea, and Wenchang Dijun, god of literature (exam periods are particularly busy here).  Worshipers bring their offerings to leave on large tables,

offerings table at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan
offerings table at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan


and anyone can ask at a window for a stick of incense to light as they make requests of gods.  Chanting occurs at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., and 5 p.m. 


lighting candles at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan
lighting candles at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan

More things to do in Taipei.

More things to do in Taiwan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sights to See: Taiwan--10 surprising facts


On my recent visit to Taiwan, I found it to be a kinder, nicer, slower China. Here are

10 facts about Taiwan that might surprise you:

●Taiwan is not a part of China.

●Taiwan is slightly bigger than Belgium.

●Taiwan was formerly known as Formosa.

●Taiwan has reached its 100th birthday in 2011.

●Taiwan has the world’s lowest birthrate.

●Taiwan is the first democratic country in Asia.

●Taiwan has the highest density of convenience stores (7-11s are everywhere).

●Taiwan is second only to Italy in the production of marble.

●Taiwan prohibits cutting down trees; all wood is imported.

●Director Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Eat Drink Man Woman,” “Brokeback Mountain”) is a native of Taiwan.

More information:  Taiwan Tourism Bureau 



city of Taipei as seen from Taipei 101 interior observation deck
city of Taipei as seen from Taipei 101 interior observation deck


time for ice cream at Miyahara in Taichung, Taiwan
time for ice cream at Miyahara in Taichung, Taiwan


taking pictures beside the entrance stone at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
taking pictures beside the entrance stone at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

More things to do in Taiwan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.   

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, July 8, 2016

Good Eats: Pio Pio, NYC--Queens--Jackson Heights


Pio Pio 2  84-02 Northern Blvd., (718) 426-4900.  $$$.  This well-known, popular spot for Peruvian cuisine has many locations around New York City.  Here it operates in an airplane-hangar-size room.  Well, not quite, but it is BIG.  Sangria is reputedly very good, especially the white version, but I favor the Pisco sour cocktail.  Many large groups come here, and ordering family-style is encouraged.  A good choice is the Matador Combo, which has been known to feed a family of four--it includes a whole rotisserie chicken, salchipapa (hot dogs on top of french fries), avocado salad, saffron rice, red beans, and tostones.  Camarones Cuzco features shrimp in a creamy aji amarillo sauce.  Paella, filet mignon, and several ceviches are also options.  Aji verde green sauce is complimentary and seems to go with everything.  


fruit bowl at bar at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
fruit bowl at bar at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York


bartender at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
bartender at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York


interior at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
interior at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

Pisco sour at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
Pisco sour at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

papa a la huancaina at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
papa a la huancaina at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

chupe de camarones at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
chupe de camarones at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

saffron rice and red beans at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
saffron rice and red beans at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York


Camarones Cuzco at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
Camarones Cuzco at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York

ceviche at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
ceviche at Pio Pio 2 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York
Pio Pio 2 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in Queens.

More things to do in NYC.  

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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Good Eats: Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake, Lake Charles, Louisiana


Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake  1004 N. Lakeshore Dr., (337) 494-1070.  Located right off the I-10, this popular spot roars with happy customers and is famous for excellent Cajun cuisine.  There is often a line to get in.  The atmosphere is casual and festive, and the platters are BIG.  I especially liked the fried catfish and prawns, boudin balls, and coleslaw, but the menu offers extensive choices that includes gumbo, potatoes topped with fried popcorn shimp, crawfish etouffee, and a variety of po-boys.  The colorful giant platters of red boiled crawfish accented with yellow corn cobs are also very popular.  


exterior of Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA
exterior of Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA


interior of Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA
interior of Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA

busy server at Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA
busy server at Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA

fried shrimp & catfish at Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA
fried shrimp & catfish at Steamboat Bill’s on the Lake In Lake Charles, LA
 Steamboat Bill's on the Lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Every wondered where crawfish live?

crawfish mound at Laura Plantation in Louisiana
crawfish mound at Laura Plantation in Louisiana

More things to do in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

More things to do in Louisiana.

More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Good Eats: 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar + Pujo Street Café, Lake Charles, Louisiana


1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar  949 Ryan St., (337) 602-6278.  Located downtown in the Phoenix Building that commemorates the Great Fire of 1910 that burned several city blocks, this new restaurant serves a refined Cajun and Creole fusion cuisine with a French backbone.  I savored my dinner of rich crawfish bisque, a spinach salad with gorgonzola and pecans, and grouper with a cremini mushroom puree.  King Cake bread pudding provided a festive, colorful, and delicious conclusion. 

interior of 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana
interior of 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana

crawfish bisque at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana
crawfish bisque at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana

spinach salad at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana
spinach salad at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana

grouper at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana
grouper at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana

King Cake bread pudding at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana
King Cake bread pudding at 1910 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Lake Charles, Louisiana
1910 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Pujo Street Café  901 Ryan St., (337) 439-2054.  Located in the Historic Downtown, this popular restaurant is within a building that has a history as rich as the tasty food.  Cajun and Creole dishes are all freshly prepared.  For lunch, I very much enjoyed a cup of creamy shrimp bisque followed by a crab and avocado salad with housemade potato chips (pub chips).  Oysters, burgers (including a veggie version), and po-boys are also available.

dining room at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana
dining room at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana

shrimp bisque at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana
shrimp bisque at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana

crab and avocado salad at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana
crab and avocado salad at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana

burger at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana
burger at Pujo Street Cafe in Lake Charles, Louisiana
Pujo Street Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

More things to do in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

More things to do in Louisiana.
 
More travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers