Archive for the 'Fruit' Category


Typhoon Morakot

*Insert apologies for being a bad blog mistress here*

Although I’m not in Taiwan anymore, I have been worried upon hearing the news reports of the mudslides falling on small villages.  We just got through to talk with my aunt in Tainan tonight (the lines in Taipei haven’t been letting us through).  She told me that they are rationing water since there is not very much that is drinkable– the reservoirs have been flooded, and helicopters are dropping food and drinking water where villages in the mountains are supposed to be, but haven’t been able to confirm whether people are still alive there yet.  People are cooking noodles and dumplings instead of rice (rice needs to be rinsed in addition to the water added to cook it).  The cold drinks from 7/11 (No carton/bottle cold teas!?  Unthinkable!)  aren’t available.  Fresh fruit and vegetables on farms were washed away by Morakot, so she said food is pretty expensive right now.  Fortunately, as far as we’ve heard, our family is fine.

Apparently the cities are operating again and the roads and trains are clear and running.

Also, the Taiwanese government is bowing to public pressure to accept whatever foreign aid they can get since they need it… (Refrains from grumpy editorial about political idiocy.)  From what I’ve heard, they could really use more helicopters to try to get to those remote villages.

And if you’ve got change to spare and care to help relief efforts (good karma, anyone?), Tzu Chi is a fantastic Buddhist organization (I remember them being on practically every street corner asking for donations so they could provide assistance after the Chinese earthquake).  Apparently World Vision is also conducting relief efforts in Taiwan as well.

My heart aches for all the beautiful mountain villages we would visit on the weekends or drive past on the highways– their lights glittering on the mountains.  They seem so idyllic– there is usually a main street with a market of yummy touristy food, and depending on the village, you can meet artisans selling things from glass pens to ocarinas (clay whistles).  I miss Taiwan.  My thoughts are with everyone there.


Barclay Park

Barclay Park is a nice little park in Tainan that I visited with my aunt this past spring.  It is named after a missionary.  I was on a mission to shoot photographs of lotus.  Unfortunately, the park didn’t have any lotus (so I am still on my quest– tips on places to shoot lotus anyone?  For some reason whenever I want to shoot lotus, I run out of battery after one shot, or it’s raining, at night, etc…)

However, there were many other things to take photographs of…

Fishing in the pond.  I always think those long black fishing poles look like antenna, flicking up and down, tasting the air above the water with a graceful arch.

A sleepy red-eyed duck.

Geese eating bark for breakfast…  Mmm…

This is a close-up of breadfruit, which I have yet to eat.

Mangoes hanging from the tree. (This reminds me of an illustration class I was in once, where an extremely talented artist in my class made a gorgeous illustration, except all the mangoes were hanging upside down on the tree.)

Shuei lien are water flowers that only open at night and close by mid-morning.

Close to the stream, the sound of the cicadas rose into a pelting loud chorus as we walked under the trees. This is my attempt to shoot the living one that my aunt pointed out to me.

Her shot was better…


A quick post…

I’m much busier than I thought I would be here in Tainan.  Apparently my Chinese has improved to the point where my aunt can tell me Chinese mythological stories about the gods and goddesses and after a very long time of her explaining every other word to me, I can understand why the lovers are separated by higher powers…

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen the celebrations for the children turning 16, and the lunar 7/7 day which always rains at night because the weaver and the cowherd are reuniting on a bridge of birds, and raining tears of joy and sadness.

I also picked (and nibbled) longyen (a fruit directly translated as dragon-eye), gave myself a mini-shower in my first attempt to pump the flooding from the typhoon out of the basement (oh, right, attaching the hose–an excellent idea, and I didn’t actually electrocute myself!), and got a mini-lesson in shufa or Chinese calligraphy from my aunt (well, it’s more like beautiful Chinese printing for my very elementary skills at writing words).

Tainan is hot, but there is oftentimes a small (if also at times warm) breeze floating through the air. 

Oh, and I printed out some of the photos I’ve taken over the years for the very first time, and they turned out well!  It was rather exciting, since they usually sit in my hard drive…

I’ve gotten myself (slightly) lost walking past temples, and through back alleyways which are so narrow one can hear the voices behind the doors chatting in Taiwanese.

My aunt and I stopped by Chikan towers, where there was a quartet of musicians playing traditional Taiwanese songs and children’s music (the theme to Doraemon was one of the ending pieces), in front of a backdrop of beautiful Chinese buildings that I’ll have to go back to shoot photographs of during the day at some point.

My Chinese has improved to the point that people now ask if I’m from Singapore, instead of Japan when they meet me and realize I speak English and Chinese that has possibly progressed from tot to pre-school level.


Wax or Rose Apple Tree

This tree had a combination of bud, blossoms, and fruit.  Liem boo or Lien Woo was one of my first delighted discoveries in Taiwan.

The flowers remind me of sea anemone with their outstretched stamens.

Not quite red enough yet to be fully sweet.

The whole tree sits next to a basketball court where people were playing in their bare feet.



I found this moth clinging to the outer wall of this antique store that is no longer operating, but has its windows and doors open for people to peer in and have a taste of nostalgia for the old wares inside.

I have no idea what kind of moth it is, and I think it was dead or in a deep abiding slumber, as it didn’t flinch when I moved aside some flat wooden postcards to snap its picture.

We were wandering this little mountain town where we hopped off the mountain train, feasted, and wandered the streets listening to little clay bird flutes, and trying the “tomato tree” fruit which was more akin to passionfruit (except red instead of yellow inside), and rather sour.



At the end of our jerky truck ride, we got to get out, stretch our legs a bit and I spotted this fellow who was selling coconuts or ye-tze. I ended up limiting my ramble-on-rocks ability by buying a few, so my cousin could try his first coconut juice-from-the-coconut, and I ended up with hand and arms full of the large bouncy things. Coconuts bounce. When I had my first coconut juice directly from a coconut, it was in Danshuei. I think it was after my uncle’s funeral in a brief visit I had. My (then-little) cousins and I got coconuts to sip from with straws next to the river, and I was amazed that inside this big green melon was that little brown furry ball I saw at the supermarket labeled as coconut.

I was never fond of coconut shavings or coconut in chocolate. However, I liked the sweet clear juice slipping down my throat, and the coconuts were fun to try to break, but bounced, not quite as well as a basketball (which didn’t prevent my attempts to dribble), but quite satisfactorily bounced on the cement sidewalks.

So, we sipped our coconuts dry through plastic white straws, and then my mother led me back to the grand coconut man, who obligingly sliced through our coconuts and carved the white meat out for us. The white meat is where the coconut shavings come from, and it’s actually pretty tasteless next to the actual coconut juice. It’s a very crisp texture.

I still prefer the juice.

The grand coconut man wielding his curved knife expertly, and precisely to get the meat out for us. When he was halving the coconut and chopping out the squared hole for our straws, it was more like hacking with that scythe, but getting the meat out he showed a deft grace.


More from Kenting National Park

There was a greenhouse of cultivated rare flowers there.  This one was just outside of the greenhouse.

The tree with ribbons for roots.

One of the caves– there were caves dripping with stalactites (or is it stalagmites?) dimly lit with names like “Fairy’s Cave” and “Silver Dragon Cave.”

Sometimes exploring the nature of Taiwan feels like I’ve truly stepped into an alternate world– everything looks just a little bit familiar except when it doesn’t at all. For instance, there are butterflies, but they aren’t the butterflies I remember–the colors are different, the wings are bigger, or their flight is more bird-like.  Or there is greenery in the mountains, but the texture is completely different from what I grew up with.  The rose apple is the shape of a pear with the waxy translucent skin of a candle, and the flesh of an almost spongy apple.  It must have been so exciting for the early explorers to find this lush green island with its mountains of sleeping volcanos and trees weighed down with fruit.  The new variety makes the idea of magic more possible– reality has expanded.

Another link for Kenting National Park with more pictures.

Free Rice

September 2019
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