>Driving home on my scooter tonight I stopped at a nursery I’ve been to before along the way to ask if they had Aloe. The ones they had were simply too small and I then asked if they knew where I could get some with really big leaf blades. After a lot of backwards and forwards I got an address scribbled down in Chinese. The kind man wrote down the address of a night market where I could look for or where he knew I could find someone selling this.

Some rights reserved by shinyai
So I made my way through town with my little scribbled note and kindly directed by friendly Taiwanese until I made it to the night-market. After parking my scooter and making a wrong turn on foot I was directed down an alley and what do you know… as I walked out at the other end of the alley I was in the night-market and right there barely twenty steps away hung a head of Aloe outside a traditional medicine and herb shop…! After being asked I told them I wanted to use the aloe for making soap and they showed me a mass of other herbs locals buy to make soap… one translated to fragrant grass… As it was a medicine shop I specifically asked for herbs good for healthy skin and was pointed to quite a few traditional herbs… some quite interesting… It is definitely great to have a local shop where I can buy interesting herbals for soaps and potions. I will of course try to find out what these herbs are before using them.

Also amazing was the price… a whole head of aloe came to $3 US!

Some rights reserved by antaresy
Driving back I was struck anew by what a strangely wonderful life I lead in this sometimes weird and wonderful country Taiwan. Less than an hour had passed since I set off into the unknown to look for something I had know idea of where to find and I was on my way home carrying an abundance of what I set out to find along with the knowledge of having found so much more as well… And all this with the most basic of language and understanding skills… At times however surreal my life might seem I am very happy that it is as different and special as it is and I simply can’t imagine a simpler life! Never mind not being able to read street signs or any form of writing!

I can still be awed by my own experience…