Today, I want to tell you all about a little place called Xi Men Ding or 西門町, it's a pretty cool happenin' place. As the youngsters like to call it nowadays. ;) It's a pretty awesome place to play for Taiwanese youth and foreign tourists alike. Ximending is a maze of alleyways and streets full of clothing stores, snack stalls, accessory stores, drink stands, shoe stores, restaurants, arcades, street artists, theaters buskers, etc. Like most of Taipei, Ximending is jam packed full of fun stuff to do, and people. If you're afraid of crowded places stay away from Ximending!
There are probably millions of blog entries buried within the bowels of Ximending. >__< In this blog post I'm only going to highlight a couple of things that I thought were cool. =) Of course more to come later.
Right across from the subway station, you'll find a little encampment of artists and vendors selling their wares in the courtyard next the the NET store. It sort of looks like this:
|Actually...it looks exactly like this.|
They all represent different art houses and sell all sorts of things: shirts, jewelry, cards, cups, mugs, trinkets, etc.:
One of these stalls is selling Indian inspired wares, incense, jewelry, and some traditional sari's. The shop keeper is absolutely delightful and her English is quite good, she's studied it in India for a year, and she's quite skilled in drawing henna. Along with all her other wares she sells, you'll find an innocuous book that she keeps all her henna designs in lying amongst the blingy jewelry. You can choose what she draws on you from cartoon caricatures, simple wristlets and intricate full hand designs.
I settled for a large heart design. <3 I love hearts. It cost about $150 NT for most of the larger designs. She told me it would last around 7 days, but for me the design lasted around 2 weeks. I guess I don't use my hands very much. =P
The second fun thing you can take away from Ximending is getting a caricature of yourself done! As opposed to the typical "western" style of caricature there's an artist in the main drag of Ximending that really gets into the ancient Han vibe. He decked out his stall with bamboo, past portraits, and traditional Chinese music full of erhu's and wind flutes...playing out of a boombox of course. Take a look for yourself!
I had to have one. Kat of course was the reasonable one and decided to save her money for delicious eats...me? I go to the weirdo dressed in Hanfu to get my portrait drawn. There was a boy before me that seemed a little disappointed with his picture, and when I sat down, he immediately sat behind the artist and stared very keenly at the paper he unfurled in preparation for my drawing.
This of course made me incredibly nervous. How awkward! Sitting down, and two people just....staring at you. Well, the artist had to do his job I suppose. ;) That boy though!! Hmph. It also didn't help he laughed the entire time. I didn't have that much confidence artist at that point. Look! You can see him laughing! =[
|I SEE YOU BOY.|
A small crowd had gathered, and I was a little sweaty. I was nervous under the pressure the heat of the summer, the gaze of the crowd, the snickers from that boy. I don't know what I looked like at the time, but the sketch turned out like this:
What do you think?
Ximending is also the home to many an arcade. In fact, as I mentioned in my previous Jubeats posts, Ximending is a field of Jubeats laden arcades! And claw games. You'll find all technical delights you want here, at the cost of 10-20 NT. =)
This is a long post...I think I'll break it into two pieces. I hope you all are satisfied with this for now! =__= I know this is a selfish favor, but I hope you'll also take a look at my personal blog as well: http://fafofi.blogspot.com/ I'd appreciate your comments here...and there! See you on the flipside!
Oh also. I MISS YOU KAT. I RUV U TOO. <3