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Taiwan Impressions, Final Day: Innovation, Malls and Glove Puppets

Last full day in Taiwan

1) Went to the Taiwan Excellence Pavilion, the museum where the government showcases the most innovative Taiwanese inventions of the last year. Saw an air filter that sweeps viruses out of the air (supposedly), a contact lens that retains twice as much moisture (need that!), a track suit made of coffee grounds that also traps body odor and, most impressively, a self-regulating, "negative pressure" bandage. Apparently, it can take months for a serious wound to heal and this bandage is programmed to respond to changes in the wound and thus speed up the healing process.

2) Visited the Taipei New Horizons mall, a HUGE new mall built around (yay!) a bookstore. It's mostly Taiwanese designers and some of them are wacky. One brand, called "Dleet" in English (my guess: a spelling error), had what they called the "Twin Shirt" and the "Triplet dress". The twin shirt had, for no apparent reason, four sleeves, and the triplet dress had three tubes at the bottom of it so you could wear it three different ways. I can't imagine who either would look good on...beyond Heidi Klum. The mall also has a pottery studio (with wheels) and a glass blowing studio so you can take classes when you get bored of shopping.

3) Earlier in the week I was at the National Glove Puppet Museum. Most of the mainland Chinese who settled Taiwan were from the Fujian province and they brought with them their tradition of puppetry. Nobody cares about puppets in Fujian anymore, apparently, but they're so popular here there's a 24-hour, all-puppetry cable TV channel.

4) Went to the Night Market for dinner. Wimped out and didn't have the duck head, the "Wow turtle eggs", or the water fried Baojin. Instead went for the oyster omelet (made with tapioca and covered with an amazing sesame sauce). Then for a vegetable, I went to another booth and had candied cherry tomatoes on a stick.

And so my latest adventures came to an end. I'll try and post some impressions from Australia next week.