SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – TAIWAN’S SHILIN NIGHT MARKET


Night markets have been in existence in Asia for hundreds of years. Those of times gone by were surely nothing like the popular ones now found worldwide. Found in cities, often those with large Asian populations, has made them more than just a place to buy and sell. Today night markets are filled with quick bites of tasty foods, fun entertainment, designer knock-offs, and knickknacks; they are a large draw for both tourists and locals alike. Taiwan particularly has an abundance of night markets with the Shilin Night Market in Taipei being the most famous and arguably the largest. Divided into two sections, patrons can meander from shopfront to shopfront in one section perusing clothing stores, having a go at karaoke or playing arcade games. Go to the Food Court and there is an almost endless choice food. A friend told me that there are over 1500 food stalls. That is a lot of food!! Not a wonder this night market is famed. It is known for serving foods along the likes of oyster omelets, fried buns, tempura and much more. The ease of getting there by way of the Taipei Rapid Transit System and late hours (5:00pm to 1 or 2:00am is common) this market is a night out I would imagine.

Shilin Night Market

Shilin Night Market, Taipei

Although Vancouver has a few night markets my friend said they pale in comparison to the ones in Taiwan. They have the large ones like Shilin where the crowds are immense and the choices for everything to the much smaller ones where locals visit and the crowds are fewer. Though she did say 500 food stalls is a small night market though for me I would still imagine that as rather large. It’s all relative I guess.

Photo Credit: Flickr - Alon Lim

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – BAY OF FIRES, TASMANIA


Found on Australia’s island state of Tasmania is the Bay of Fires. The northeastern bay was so named by Tobias Ferneaux  in 1773 when he spotted the beaches flecked with fires lit by the Aboriginals. Beginning in the south at Binalong Bay, this stretch of coastline reaches north to Eddystone Point. Unique orange lichen-stained rocks, pristine white sand beaches and clear waters beckon people from both near and far. Camping, hiking (including a 4-day guided walk), fishing, boating, surfing and birdwatching are just a few of the activities visitors can get involved in.

Lichen-stained rocks at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Lichen-stained rocks at the Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Owner/User: Poco a poco

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – BRUCE PENINSULA


North America’s five freshwater Great Lakes are a wonder in themselves. Four of the five Great Lakes are shared between Canada and the USA (the fifth, Lake Michigan is in the USA in its entirety) and are the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the St Lawrence River. Many cities and towns are found along the lakes, including my hometown of Thunder Bay, situated on Lake Superior in northwestern Ontario. Clear across the province on the eastern shore of Lake Huron lies a stretch of the Niagara Escarpment called The Bruce Peninsula. Its location borders The Georgian Bay to one side and Lake Huron to the other. The peninsula has both fauna and geological interest. Small towns dot the area and at the end of the peninsula is The Bruce Peninsula National Park and The Fathom Five National Marine Park. Much of this region has numerous opportunities for getting into the outdoors. Natural craggy coastlines, enthralling hikes such as The Grotto, glass-clear waters, relaxing beaches, wreck diving, camping and glamping sites with towns dotted along the way. I expect it would be difficult to not enjoy a visit to this piece of Canada.

bruce_peninsula_121

Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

 Photo credit: Flickr – Owner/user: Mike Molea (zenman314)

SUNDAY’S SPECIAL SPOT – PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS


For many years, the Petronas Twin Towers that dominate the skyline of Malaysia‘s capital city of Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings. It maintained that title from 1998 to 2004, standing at 451.9 m/1483 ft. Although the title has been passed to another skyscraper, the two structures retain the title of being the world’s tallest twin towers. These towering spires first caught my attention in the 1999 movie “Entrapment” starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. When I saw the magnificent photography surrounding them I knew I wanted to visit it myself (not to mention that Malaysian food is incredible). They have, along with Malaysia itself, have been near the top of my travel to-do list.

Kuala Lumpur skyline with the Petronas Towers shining on the right.

Kuala Lumpur skyline with the Petronas Towers shining on the right.

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Author: Guyfrombronx

**Note: I want to express my heartfelt sadness for the tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the all the passengers and crew. May peace find all of us.