So...with a solemn promise of many, many words to come, here are a few photos from my current visit to Tainan, Taiwan. As usual, click on the image for a large version.
Fresh tropical fruit juices are made and sold at the open air fish market, just off the beach. The fruit that contains the seeds you see in the jugs has a Chinese name which means "fruit with the good-tasting aroma" -- and honestly, celestial ambrosia couldn't be better than this exquisitely perfumed drink!
When you walk down the alley of this little village outside of Tainan, you see racing pigeon coops, mango trees, shanties and sheds and motor scooters. Then, you come around the corner, and voila, there's the neighborhood Taoist temple. I've never seen anything quite so ornate.
My hosts insisted I try the little spiral-shelled crustaceans piled into plates at the same fish market, cooked with various degrees of spiciness. You pick up the shell, put it to your lips and suck twice, hard, with noise, to slurp out the little creature inside (yes, I ate it, and yes it was good -- but I chose the spiciest plate, so the hot chiles would help if I didn't like the creature's taste!)
(And for those of you following news of Cyclone Nargis and the Myanmar victims, Fearless Husband's ship is finally leaving the area, after almost a month of waiting just offshore with water, food and other supplies. It's a shame that they have not been able to help, and the Sailors and Marines are disappointed not to have been of service. But the silver lining is that they are headed home!)