Taipei is by no means a concrete jungle devoid of green, but what it does lack is open spaces. The Flora Expo satisfies that need and adds in vast beds of flowers and shady groves of trees. One of my favorite parts was the bower of ornamental pumpkins, squashes, and tomatoes, partly for their shade value, and partly because they have such a clean smell: not sweet like flowers or cold like pines, but rather a green and summery smell that is very refreshing. Whenever athelas is mentioned in Lord of the Rings, I think of this smell. Well, that or rosemary.
Speaking of rosemary, let’s address one of the problems of learning Chinese: you can’t just look at it and sound it out. When you try (as I often do), you often mix sounds together. Rosemary is a perfect example. When I saw the sign nestled in the stalks, I thought “I can read that! That’s mímoxiāng! What an amusing and adorable name.”
Well, a little research once I got home revealed that 迷迭香 is actually pronounced mídiéxiāng, and I was confused because I fused two characters into one sound sometime back in my memory.
Other highlights of the Expo were the temple fighters and the culture pavilion in general, as well as the country pavilions from Japan, the US, Taiwan, and others. I’ll come back to these in future posts.
Most of my enjoyment of the Expo came from basking in the masses of flowers and the smells of so much greenery. I’ll leave you with a double rainbow that I saw in spite of the muggy and rainless weather.