on this, the first day of the great blizzard of 2015*, i'm going to go back to sunny taiwan. want to come?
when i was in taipei a few months ago, i had to go back to eslite spectrum for a second look, since it was such a good time when i went in 2013. (it's since been featured on afar's taiwan travel guide.) again, i failed to stay at the eslite hotel, but it is looking amazing. there is so much to see and do and eat in that complex! there is, of course, a big bookstore (eslite's original source of fame), locally- and regionally-made clothing, and enough kitchen goods to stock ten downton abbey kitchens. (although i guess the style of the kitchen goods would be slightly out of place in edwardian england. there is a lot of enamelware though..but i think that is more downstairs than upstairs. anyway, i digress.) this time, i also noticed a custom leather shop called hsu & daughters. it looks like they make wallets, bags, and belts on the spot. and if you get thirsty or hungry, there are a whole row of fancy tea shops to choose from, as well as a decent food court in the basement. there is also a large section featuring taiwanese specialty snacks, like 100 kinds of dried fruit - my favorite are the wild mangos (these are different from regular old domesticated mangos, i suppose) - and jerky and pork floss and edamame. yum.
anyway, check it out: