Makishi Market is located in a central part of Kokusai Dori Market, located in Naha, Okinawa. This market is much like the ones I’ve seen and taken photos at in Taiwan, though it was attached with restaurants that prepared your food and allowed you to eat your fresh fish as sashimi or a cooked dish.
In the middle of our trip, we went north to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, home to the second largest aquarium tank in the world. The main tank is by far the most popular attraction and in all honesty, my photos don’t do it justice – perhaps this video by Jon Rawlinson in Vimeo will do a better job. Make sure to watch it in HD:
My favorite shot of the aquarium was of this massive whale shark. Keep in mind that there are not just one, but two of these with plenty of room to move around!
Apparently, the aquarium is of of a few with manta rays:
Of course, there were other exhibits with smaller tanks:
The architecture of the structure itself was a bit fascinating:
…and the natural beauty of the area was pretty amazing:
These photos come from a trip just outside of Taichung at two botanical garden areas that I don’t remember the name… or location of… but can tell you they were in the mountains and quite beautiful. The day itself was pretty exhausting – it consisted of leaving Jhubei early in the AM on Friday the 20th of August and arriving in the Taichung area by about 8:45am. The first stop was a botanical garden which was highly maintained and kind of sold as a relaxation for Taiwanese from the hustle and bustle of city life. The second location, which lacks some pictures here (as I was pretty exhausted) was a harrowing drive through one-way roads in the mountains in search of some lavender fields. We found them… and they were beautiful. Photos of both locations are mixed into this post:
The above photo was kind of an opportunity shot and I’m glad I got it. A girl was blowing bubbles on the way out of the first garden, and I had my 70-300mm lens after shooting (…pictures of!) some ducks in the pond. I liked how the bokeh turned out on this, and even more, it made me realize my 70-300 lens was a good investment as the autofocus was nice and fast – not to mention accurate.
This HDR shows a “castle” located in the center of the park. Like I said, this was the place for Taiwanese to relax… escape. No attractions, sales (minus a restaurant), or amusement park rides. Apparently, this requires a faux European castle! I have to admit – it was somewhat tasteful and added to the presence of the place.
I like the depth-of-field on the photo above. You’ll obviously notice the fish as well – both the fish and ducks were used to, and probably dependent on, people. The water is clear enough and the fish are “trained” to the point that they followed us… Yuling extended her hand (with nothing in it) and their mouths were gaping open, ready to eat…
Gotta love the chemical-fused water :)
There were gardeners all over – my $250 NT entrance fee (about $7.80 USD) seems to be well used!
The above photo shows some of these wish/prayer cards that our second stop, the lavender fields, gave to visitors. The whole operation – which I honestly don’t have many photos of here – was quite a successful draw for many people. Their marketing was full of cute (and sometimes expensive) ways to participate in the “cottage” atmosphere and was a little bit more direct than the first garden. Oh, and it was in the middle of nowhere… really.