On Sunday we briefly hanged out in a shopping district.

A Malaysian singer, “Gary,” who is apparently a big Mandarin Pop celebrity was performing on a stage to advertise his latest CD. Seeing at it was Mother’s day, he was periodically joined on stage by his mother.

Hoeteck was there before me, and he told me that earlier they had a skit where the mother brought the singer some soup on stage, and then fed him with a spoon.

Being too late in the day to visit any major museum, we moved to the MOCA (“C” is for “contemporary”) where, of all things, they had an exhibit of Italian fashion design. We then recamped to a cafe in Ximending, a neighborhood that I would call “yuppie.” Locals who are around my age consider it “the place where college students hang out,” although college-age folks belittle it as “the place where high-scholl kids go.” I was not able to check with any high school student whether this kind of looking-down goes any further. In reality, Ximending has pleasent cafes, nice shops, and a mixed crowd.

Eventually, it was time to move to the Huaxi night market, which is famous for the restaurants that sell snake soup, snake meat, and liquors made partly from snake blood. Each such restaurant has a hawker in front advertising their stuff, and some of them handle a live snake. Every now and then, they feed a hamster to the snake, or even kill and cut open the snake in front of onlookers, but we were not lucky enough to see it. In front of each such restaurant there is a sign, in English and Chinese, that says “no pictures.” I was wondering why, and then I noticed another sign that said “none of the snakes served here is a protected species.” I did sneak one picture, anyways. These are preserved snakes, or something:

Hoeteck had been looking for Taiwanese eel noodles ever since tasting them in a Taiwanese restaurant in Boston several years ago. Apparently he never found such good eel noodles anywhere else. We found some good eel noodles in Huaxi, but apparently they were not as good as the Bostonian ones.

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