There’s only so many Chinese New Years you want to spend in Beijing. Cold, fireworks so incessant it sounds like one of those week-long artillery barrages from some horrible war, and smog spikes from all that gunpowder smoke. Oh for somewhere a little warmer, clearer, and quieter. This year, having run out of entries on our China visas, we travelled “guo nei” and took the short hop down to Fujian Province’s Wuyi Mountains…
Taipei, Taiwan. Capital of a renegade province? Or shining example of what the mainland would have been like without 60 years of communism?
Depends who you ask, and I have friends at both extremes. I got no skin in that game, so I don’t care. I just love the people and the food. Friendly, warm and welcoming, it’s a city I’ve visited twice and enjoyed both times. Pictures tell it best, so click through for more. There’s just two words you do need, though: “soh gai”. That’s Cantonese for “street sweeping”, the delightful pastime of drifting around at night munching on street snacks. It might technically apply to Mong Kok in Hong Kong, but the notion works equally well in Taipei.
Borneo charmed us with orang utans, night climbing, beautiful beaches and remote highlands. I even learned to enjoy – well, not to hate – durian. But one of the loveliest sides to Malaysia – something I hadn’t expected – is the wonderful way they speak English. In Kuching, we asked some Chinese-Malaysians the way to the waterfront. After a bit of debate between them about precisely which statue of cats to turn at (yes, there is more than one), they told us the way. Was there food down there, Yon asked? “Yes!”, the lady said with a huge warm smile. “Everything got!”