1/26/09 After the New Years Eve, the actual Near Year Day seems an anti-climax. I woke up pretty late from my baby-like sleep expectedly so after my visit to the hot spring the previous night. I found that there was actually NOTHING ON THE AGENDA TODAY!! Alas, the state of nothingness lasted for but one hour. My sister Su-Yi and brother-in-law Andy showed up and they decided to take me to the Eslite Bookstore Flagship Store in Eastern Taipei.
I love going to bookstores. Big bookstores, little bookstores, specialty bookstores and any kind of bookstores. There's something about going to an actual bookstore that is very therapeutic. Especially, the Eslite bookstore chain in Taiwan is really quite something. They are chic and elegant looking at the same time, and the selection of books is fantastic. In addition to books, there are also designer-packaged indiginous Taiwanese food products sold here, as if they are fashion items.
My sister Su-Yi took me to the flagship store and we surprisingly found just about the entire population of the City here. It was pretty crowded! But quiet nonetheless. It's as if everyone knows that the bookstore is not meant for raucous new year celebration.
Another reason we came here was because Su-Yi and Andy are architects and the Eslite Bookstore has the best selection of architectural and interior design books. Also, Su-Yi's firm handles all of Eslite's interior. She wanted to show me what she worked on. Interesting!!
Of all the Eslite branches, the most famous in Taipei outside of the Flagship store is probably the one on the Ren-Ai Circle in Taipei City. This is a 24-hour bookstore and it's known to be the "Social Eslite". This reminds me of the "Social Safeway" supermarkets in Washington DC and in San Francisco. While the food may not be abundently available and the produce may not be top notch, the shoppers at these Safeways are certainly mostly very chic looking for grocery shopping. Likewise, the Social Eslite boasts probably the most dressed up bookstore goers one can imagine seeing...I wouldn't mind going next time at wee hours just to watch the people.
I snatched a photo inside of the Japanese book section inside the bookstore, where I spent quite a bit of time browsing.
This turned out to be a very relaxing afternoon and a break from all the food of the previous 24 hours...