Finding China in a Taipei market


Asia-bound? Try Taiwan. It’s off the beaten path (from North America) and provides a unique mix of ancient China, cosmopolitan cities, Polynesian influences, and a hint of Japan.

Different from, say, Beijing, where hutongs (old residential alleyway neighborhoods) are being replaced with high-rise apartment buildings; Taiwan is preserving its past and building an ultra-modern state right around it. You’ll see colorful temples dwarfed by residential and commercial towers.

The street markets provide everyday shopping but there is no shortage of big name houses: Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and more.


Entrance to the Huaxi Street Market (Snake Alley). Photo by Lana Rodlie

The Huaxi Street Night Market, otherwise known as Snake Alley, is in the Wanhua District, the oldest district in Taipei. The entrance is a welcome traditional Chinese gate with red lanterns leading to a roofed mall. The two-block long market is a great place to see local culture. This is where you can try snake or turtle blood, snake penis or deer penis wine (I believe this is the only place in the world that sells it – such a shame!)


Heading into the Snake Market. Lana Rodlie photo


People browse through the snake cages (live snakes). But the sales are actually quite private as they would not let us photograph anyone drinking blood. Lana Rodlie photo


They didn’t like us photographing the snakes, either. Lana Rodlie photo


Turtles. Lana Rodlie photo


Lana Rodlie photo


Lana Rodlie photo


Had to try and sneak a photo of the snakes. We found Taipei people a little camera shy. Lana Rodlie photo


Lana Rodlie photo


Look for the Chinese character that looks like a snake – that indicates a shop that sells them. Lana Rodlie photo


Lana Rodlie photo


Of course, you should have some veggies with your protein. Lana Rodlie photo


Inside Snake Alley. Lana Rodlie photo


Lana Rodlie photo

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Walking through the past in Bergen, Norway

The Gateway to the Norwegian Fjords is a beautiful blend of the medieval and modern

By Lana Rodle

Bergen harbour 2

Bryggen, as seen from the harbour. Photo by Lana Rodlie

First published in the May/June 1993 issue of Cruise Travel magazine; photos in the original article were supplied by Jan Strømme. Photos here were taken by Lana Rodlie in summer 2010.

One of the reasons we North Americans love to travel to Europe is not just to experience the differences in culture and architecture, but to also experience, firsthand, a way of life from the past. With nearly a thousand years of history, Bergen, Norway, is a perfect city to take a walk through time.

Called the Fjord Capital, Bergen is one of the largest cruise ports in Scandinavia with more than 150 cruise visits per year. Continue reading

The Bottom at the Top of the World: diving in Norway

by Lana Rodlie

First published in Viking magazine in August 1993 with current updates.

Photography (in the original article) by Nils Aukan

Atlantic Highway has a weird curve to counteract North Sea storms – photo by Lana Rodlie

There they are – the seals, hundreds of them, basking in the sun, lounging on the rocks, playing with one another. But the perfect view is just out of reach – unless the photographer shifts into a precarious position. Nils Aukan straddles the boat`s railing, trailing his bare foot in the cool water, and leans out, taking picture after idyllic picture.

Suddenly Aukan realizes he`s not the seals`only afternoon visitor; and instantaneously, brings his leg bck in the boat as killer whales speed like torpedoes toward the seals – and him. Aukan pauses just long enough to count nine whales before surrendering the area.

“They came out of nowhere and went for the seals,” he says. Ì don`t believe the whales would have gone for me, but in that terrific speed, I am not sure they would see the difference between a seal and a diver.”

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