Traveling is always such an intense yet somehow ephemeral experience. Nothing feels quite real till you get there, and when you come back it all turns into a memory of a long dream.
This past October-November was my long-overdue trip to Taipei, Taiwan. It was wonderful! Though I didn’t see everything I’d planned on, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Reuniting and spend time with family who hadn’t seen me since I was a heck of a lot shorter than I am now was definitely the most moving part. There was a strong sense of a sort of “coming home”.
And this being Taipei, of course there was a lot of eating, photo-taking and shopping! On top of that I was able to get in quite a few painting sessions, both live and painting from photos I had taken during the day. This post compiles all of them.
These two paintings are in and around a couple of parks in Neihu. They were in the same neighbourhood, on different days, and I swear the same little dog came around while I was painting both times.
Buy 10 get 1 free
There was a local bakery we passed by nearly every day that offered this special. One evening on the way home my mom encouraged me to go for it. As I was piling up my massive plate, I realized I was apparently the only person taking advantage of this deal. Well, breakfast was set for the next few days …
Suho Paper Museum rooftop view
The fourth floor/rooftop workshop space of the Suho Paper Museum has a fantastic view on all sides. This painting was completed from a photo I took. I also wrote a short Tumblr post about my visit to the museum – a great stop especially if you love paper and design!
One thing you’ll never find a shortage of in Taipei is delicious and cheap food. These are sauces and sides from a local restaurant in Neihu with a mix of Taiwanese and Szechuan-inspired dishes on its menu. Painted after-the-fact from a photo.
Uncle Shia/Xia, a longtime family friend, lives in a condo near Yong Ning Station. The view from his unit is lovely, and full of lush colour and things to see – greenery, architecture, and more!
My last outdoor live watercolour was in beautiful Tamsui. I had to paint in a much more rushed fashion as the sun was starting to set and the colours kept shifting.
That day started off with one of the (if not the) best meals I had in Taiwan, at a restaurant called the Black Palace. A deliciously crisp and juicy chicken rice bowl paired with a refreshing lemon winter melon tea was followed by strolling and shopping through the old streets. A perfect day finished off with enjoying the gorgeous view of the river from the wharf, watching people fishing and the sun setting. A friendly security guard also regaled me with stories and showed me photos he had taken throughout his watch over the years.
Other fond memories
- Wandering through 737 weekend market in Neihu and taking in all the sights, sounds and samples | Instagram post 1 / post 2 / post 3 / post 4
- Visiting the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan and getting to see Melissa’s miniature/minihouse7’s wonderful Taiwan-themed pieces in the special exhibit| Tumblr post
- A stop at the Ri Xing Type Foundry, the last traditional Chinese letterpress type foundry in the world | Tumblr post
- Visiting Garden City Publishers (full of zines and independent works!) and discovering the Taipei Underground Book Market on the same day | Instagram post 1 / post 2
- Visiting Cheng Huang Temple in Hsinchu and eating the oyster omelettes there | Tumblr post
- Walking through the Bihu Bamboo House in Bihu Park on my very last day. I didn’t learn till after I returned that the installation was only going to be there until the end of 2014. I feel so fortunate to have been able to experience it in person! | Instagram post
Not only was the trip incredible, but the jet lag when I got home was pretty incredible too. That aside, the trip left me with a feeling of wistfulness and an even greater appreciation of where I was born. Definitely dreaming of going back again!