在台南有一家热闹的花园夜市。一个星期开三天，每天都有人络绎不绝地来品尝这家夜市的食品 。 臭豆腐，烤鸡排，蚵仔煎，好像什么吃的都有。 什么样的人也都可见到，每街有好几个小贩卖各式各样的东西，卖的是垃圾还是珍品，那就靠顾客决定。走下这些街不多的时间就会遇到街头表演的音乐家，唱的不错，可是有时候他们的声音比不上人群的噪声。其实街上的人群值得一提，但又难以用一句话来概括。看看，我就从一个人开始把。
过了一段时间，他突然停在一个香肠摊子前面，凝视一个顾香肠的阿公。那位阿公转背的时候，这伙伴敏捷地把手伸出来抓了一条香肠。 啊，他原来就是个小偷。 他逛这条街，就是为了找机会偷东西！还有什么意思嘛？我们走吧，这没什么好看。啊，等一下。刚好旁边有女生似乎对这个家伙有点兴趣，她站在一旁目睹了他偷香肠的全过程。我们就跟着她走吧，偷听他们的会话。
In the city of Tainan there is a bustling night market called the Flower Night Market. It is open three days in a week, and each there it is filled with people who come to try out the foods there. Stinky tofu, grilled chicken, oyster omelets, it seems they have all kind of food there. You can also find all kinds of people there. Every street is filled with hawkers selling their wares, though whether they’re selling junk or precious goods is up to you to decide. Pick a street and walk down; you’ll find busking musicians. Their music isn’t bad, though sometimes it’s drowned out by the noise of the crowd. I’d like to say something about the crowd of people in this night market, but it’s a little difficult for me to sum it all up for you in a few sentences. Let’s see, I’ll start with one person then.
Ah, I found a guy; he’s wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. Looks younger than twenty. He’s by himself wandering around this market, and it seems like he doesn’t know what he’s doing here. He’s strolling down one of the streets, neither paying attention to the hawkers nor stopping to watch those street performers. When gets to the end of the street, he returns the way he came to start all over again. The distance he’s covered is pretty far; each round-trip is about three kilometers. I think he’s probably looking for something; there’s something about that look on his face.
After a while, he suddenly stops in front of a stall that sells Taiwanese sausages. He’s staring quite intently at the old man tending the stall. When the old man turns away, this guy swiftly and nimbly reaches out his hand to grab a skewer of sausage. Ah! So it turns out he’s actually a thief! All along he was wandering around this street, looking for the opportune moment to steal. Is there anything else to him? Let’s move on, he’s not that interesting. Oh, nevermind, let’s wait. There’s a girl nearby who apparently has an interest in him. She’s been watching this guy the whole time, just like us. Let’s go along with her then, and eavesdrop on their conversation.
She’s a pretty bold one, and goes right up to the thief and taps him on the shoulder. The thief turns around calmly to face her, betraying no emotion.
Can I help you?
Do you recognize me? We’ve already met many times before.
I’m sorry, I don’t know you. You’ve got the wrong person.
Wait. Don’t leave so quickly. You don’t know me, but I know what kind of person you are. I saw you steal that sausage skewer- oh, don’t worry, I don’t care about that kind of thing. I know you aren’t just a thief, I’ve seen you walking up and down this street for a while now. I’ve been doing the same thing, and I’ve probably met you about ten or so times by now. It looks like we have the same habit. Let’s walk together and have a little chat, what do you think about that?
You say that you know I’m not just a thief. How do you know I’m not a murderer?
I could say the same for myself. Still want to come with me?
And so the two of them walk down the street together, two strangers acting like old friends. They shop around the multitudes of stalls, and when they tire they sit down to watch the passing crowds of people. Let’s find a place to sit too; the girl is speaking again:
Sometimes when I come to this night market it feels like I’m wandering through a dream. The lights of the street clashes with the darkness of the night sky, blurring the lines between day and night. The noise of the crowds become mixed with the music in the background. My nose cannot distinguish between the smell of stinky tofu and the sour smells of the sweat of the people. And you, are you actually a person, or just a part of my dream?
You are thinking too much. You’ve found the wrong person.
The thief leaves his seat, probably to return home. The girl follows him quietly, back to the sausage stall where they first met.
Don’t you like sausages? I’ve only seen you steal from here. There’s no need for you to steal, I’ll buy you a skewer.
That’s not necessary. I don’t steal because I like them.
Take it. I’ve already paid for it.
They continue their walk, keeping a slight distance from each other. Now they’re about to reach the entrance of the market, and come upon an unusually large crowd. The girl comes a little closer to the side of the thief, and says to him:
Such a huge crowd, we’ll probably lose each other in there.
The thief says nothing, and the two of them walk forward steadily. But, just before they’re about to enter the crowd of people, he suddenly reaches out his hand towards the girl. The girl shakes her head and laughs.
Who are you? Do you recognize me?
Now I do.
Then come find me again later.
They go their separate ways walking on the same path, and are gradually swallowed up by the crowd...
Ah, I apologize, reader. I’ve lost them in the crowd too, and I can’t seem to pick out that thief and the girl from the mass of people. Let’s end this story here.
Night markets are ubiquitous across Taiwan, and are a big part of the nightlife and food culture. I wanted to capture the feeling and experience I had at one of the many night markets I visited, which felt at times overwhelming when I think about the kinds of things and people you can find there. They are wonderful places to wander around by yourself; you can meet all sorts of characters and dream up all kinds of scenarios.