Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hello Dream Mall!

Today we got together with Jenny and Milton for some more language exchange – and some shopping! We went to Kaohsiung’s Dream Mall, which is not only home to the Hello Kitty Ferris Wheel but is also the largest mall in Southeast Asia. It was also the perfect climate-controlled environment for us to spend the day in on account of the unbearable humidity blanketing the city this weekend.

We had a huge and delicious Japanese lunch in the food court. It was nice to have some Taiwanese guides to help us understand some of the Asian fast food we were looking at. Fun fact: Kaohsiung Airport Catering Services has an outlet there! Jenny and Milton were not fazed, but it certainly came as a surprise to those of us who are more accustomed to the vacuum-packed “meals” served on the airlines we’re familiar with. There were lots of people ordering from there, so it must be delicious!

We practiced more Chinese while we ate, then went for a wander around the mall. We barely scratched the surface! I’m already eager to go back. We visited a popular bookstore franchise not unlike Chapters back home… the chief difference being that all the books were in Chinese and bound “backwards”. We bought some “Learn Chinese” DVDs featuring the films of Ang Lee, one of Taiwan’s famous exports! He grew up not far from Kaohsiung in a place called Tainan.
The Dream Mall is apparently a popular tour stop for musicians, actors, and other entertainers for performances and autograph sessions. We were not disappointed today when we caught part of a traditional Chinese music and dance performance. Beautiful women danced around the stage balancing stacks of ceramic, water-filled bowls on their heads! Unreal. Despite the beautiful cultural offerings and lovely air-conditioned shops, my favourite sight at the mall was a stall selling mini-cupcakes. That’s been one of my major Canadian cravings and I’m looking forward to going back for some!

It was a great day and I learned a lot. All the practice Brett and I have been getting this month has really been helping our Chinese, and we’re looking forward to putting some of our new words and phrases to use. I don’t know what we’d do without all our new Taiwanese friends offering us tips on food, Taiwan survival, and Chinese grammar.

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