Sunday, May 6, 2012


This week's Book of the Week is titled Honeycomb. We all know that a honeycomb is the reticulated wax structure where bees store their eggs, honey, and pollen.. It's where they Live, where they Thrive.  When I visited Taiwan several years ago, I was awed by the honeycomb like feeling of this bustling metropolis... it's array of high rise architecture and patterning in everything from the window grates to the rooftop gardens to the sidewalk tiles.
Between 2.6-7 million people live in and around Taipei
In Taipei, people ride on little motor scooters, bicycles, motorcycles, and sometimes.... cars. The streets are lined with tall buildings, street markets, and walled gardens.. bamboo and lush foliage peak from behind the garden gates, patio decks, and window boxes..
Vibrant and colorful, yet strangely serene...

Imagine the stories in each of these apartments. A bustling honeycomb seems a sweet analogy. There are many films which center in Taipei. Ang Lee's Eat, Drink, Man, Woman is one of my favorites.. especially because of the delicious food I see being created! We ate at the street vendors' shops near my brother and sister-in-law's apartment every day and shopped at the Night Market.

Night Market

My brother teaches english in Taiwan, so I was able to meet several lovely families when I visited. I rode on his motor scooter through the convoluted streets of Taipei to the apartment homes of his students. All I remember is we crossed Kang An street every time.

From Kang An Street
There is a mixture of the very old and the very new in Taipei. Old men with red betel juiced lips, incense infused Buddha shrines in every shop and apartment, and young men and women in stylish clothes rushing by the new underground metro to their design jobs in buildings like Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world during the year I visited in 2005... Taipei 101 looks like a stack of Chinese Take Out boxes.
City Center
Temple of Hello City

Like any old culture, Taiwan is rich and complex.. it's poetry and art, it's heros and tragedies, the weave of it's soul through history is a pattern of the most ornate silken Emperor's robe, the fullest of the most complex of the Emperor's toy chests.. each tiny hidden drawer holding it's own priceless golden treasure.
Ornate and Exotic are the Emperor's Toy Chests
On the island that is Taiwan, the honeycomb that is Taipei, one can find everything under the sun (except maybe snow..) It is open for all to see and experience it's own a hidden sort of way..

Land of the Lucky Dragon
May your own life be sweet like a Honeycomb.