Of sunny saturdays and some much needed TLC…

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And so it was that after spending a bright, sunny Saturday at the Farmers’ Market at Yuanshan, watching the planes take off, and the kids fascinated by enormous soap bubbles, we decided to stretch our legs a bit, and take a walk, to the Shilin Night Market. Now technically this is just two stops away by the MRT (Taipei metro), it is nearly 2 km away by walk. But we were well fed, and there was no sign of the rain, and dusk was falling, so we were happy to brave it out. On the way, the Scientist decided to show me his music teachers’ old house. Actually that was just an excuse, he needed to visit Milkhouses, one of the best bakeries in the area, with its sumptuous baked goodies. We took a detour and headed there, filling up the stock to last us a week. And then lost the way, and somehow found ourselves in a quiet secluded residential area, in front of the Confucius Temple. And the Baoan Temple, which was right across the street. The Scientist rued the fact that he hadn’t carried his camera along. So promising ourselves to come back again for a visit, we continued on our way.

And then we landed on this bridge, over the Keelung river, stopping to pause and take in the beautiful sights with the twinkling evening lights just coming to life …

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And after an hour of walking, reached our destination. Some shopping, chomping and aimless wandering through the night market, our feet were calling us to attention.

We decided it was foot massage time. Now, if you have ever visited Taipei, or any of the Taiwanese cities, and not had a foot massage, you haven’t really made the trip. I, of course, was introduced to this form of pampering on my first visit itself. Some embarrassing moments not withstanding (the lady who gave me the message thought I was pregnant, given that most Taipei women have flat washboard abs, and we Indians…well you know!), this was just a slice of heaven. And I was hooked!!

This day, we had already decided where we wanted it done.  Next to Lungshan Temple is a small night market, and in one of the bylanes of the night market, are these foot massage parlours (for the lack of better word). We wandered into the lane, nonchalantly, as if we were not interested in foot massages, when in fact we were dying to get one! It had its effect. After walking up and down the lane, to compare the place, and prices, being foreigners, we were immediately surrounded by some best offers..NT $300 for 40-minute massage they said, and we promptly went in…

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I was asked to change into knee length bermuda shorts, while they bought us cups of warm tea. Then the feet were soaked in warm water to which some salt crystals were added.  5 minutes of soaking, and my masseuse promptly set to work.

Pouring out generous amounts of lotion, she started to massage my tired soles, and soon I was blissfully drowsy. Closing my eyes and just living the sensations in different parts of head and other bits of body these hands invoked, I just didn’t want it to end. Our deck chairs had mini TV screens with remote controls (!!), but who wanted to watch TV when there were far more enticing sensations to be had as the experts kneaded, massaged, pulled, thumped our feet. Soon they had stroked and touched all the right acupressure points, some to the point of being painful..but they knew their job well. And our feet were really looking happy, loved and cared in a long time. So we didn’t mind some of the pain that was inflicted..

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Then they brought out steaming towels, and proceeded to wrap our feet in the warm terry robes. And you felt like you had gone to heaven!! After a few minutes, our feet were rubbed off the excess oils, and some more massage followed. As a parting shot, we were given a 5 min shoulder massage, that eased out many days’ worth of knots, tension and stress. Our faces, as you can see below, tell it all..

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We returned, but not before having this yummy dessert..Wafer, thin crepes, filled with scoops of 3 different flavoured ice-creams, topped with shaved peanut chikki and garnished with coriander (whoever thought this combination of icecream and coriander would taste so amazing?!!) rolled up with flavours bursting in every mouthful..

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