Landed in Taiwan #1!!! So much food @.@ After walking a bit around Ximending, or the "Harajuku of Taipei," we ate some 牛肉麵 in a basement and called it a day, after -of course- stopping by a grocery store.
|Taipei Main Station|
Day 8 - Thursday, June 14
Yup, these blogs are definitely getting shorter. In retrospect, I should've split up the posting of the Korea trip, but meh. Onwards!
Day 8 consisted of a lot of public-transiting. After a subway and bus ride, we landed at the National Palace Museum, where I learned that no royalty actually live there. Only in Taiwan would the most popular museum relic be a jade bok choy and some-sort-of-mineral hunk of pork.
|no one lives here|
Lunch - a Hong Kong style cafe, with reallyyyy good milk tea.
Some more trains and buses later, we arrived at the Beitou Hot Springs. The park had a lovely public foot spa and pleasant entertainment and gentle exercise for senior citizens or those wishing to be.
|the water was REALLY hot|
The Tamsui (淡水) District is similar to Fisherman's Wharf in SF, but 50% cheaper. My passion fruit green tea (freshly blended without any fruit syrup) was less than $2 T-T. Some spicy cats and dogs also lived among the food and accessory stalls, guarding the wares with sharp eyes and bushy tails.
|that is NOT a statue|
|passion fruit green tea!|
|it's todoroki shoto >.>|
Day 9 - Friday, June 15
Another train ride brought us to Hualien, a quiet vacation town with no discernable industry aside from moped racing and fruit selling. Biking along the streets, racing with taxis and mopeds carrying grandmothers, infants, and dogs without any stop signs at intersections was quite the adventure.
|found a totoro!|
After eating at the night market, we ate more food! Goose + boba. Gosh, there is so much boba in Taiwan T_T. Buying milk tea for twice the price will surely hurt when we return :P
Happy to announce that I have officially adventured into a grim grotto (heh, get the reference?). We did some more bus riding to Taroko National Park, where the aboriginal Truku reside. Aside from scenic gorges and monkeys clinging to cliffs, the fluttering butterflies and comforting hum of the cicadas made me really want to fall asleep on the mountain.
Learning about the history of indigenous tribes in Taiwan before the influx of Han Chinese, made me curious about how their native people have similar customs and living practices as Native Americans, and how both groups (and probably indigenous groups all over the world) experienced the same invasion of their home. In that respect, what does "civilization" really mean, and who is to set the standard of mainstream living.
We also had dinner at this fancy Italian pasta/buffet place with Alice in Wonderland vibes (a weird mix in Hualien) which tasted good nonetheless!
Side note: I was watching the anime movie Summer Wars and it nicely restores faith in humanity and a prescient view of the future :D
Day 11 - Sunday, June 17
Took yet another train back to Taipei, and had more boba! Yay! (We really don't change our ways much, even when abroad). Then we finished up the day wandering around Ximending's market for more food O_O
|"frog egg" milk tea (best boba ever)|
|doggo on a moped|
|our mascot is waifu|
|is "milk ice cream" redundant?|
Day 12 - Monday, June 18
The morning consisted of exploration around the Daan (大安) District for a breakfast of soymilk and youtiao (油條). After wandering around a forest-like park to avoid the rain, we took the subway to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to watch the changing of the guards. Just watching the performance made me sympathize for the guards, who had to stand for an hour in hot and humid weather without twitching a muscle.
|it's raining in a park -someone trace my foot pls|
Xiaolongbao are good for any meal, and we had three baskets for lunch :3
We finished the day with a lot of shopping in the underground station markets. There are so many cute things in Taiwan >-<
Day 13 - Tuesday, June 19
For our last full day in Taiwan, we took the Maokong gondola ride over the hills and up to some tea plantations. A bumpy bus ride down brought us to the Taipei Zoo, where the rest of the afternoon was spent watching the animals roll around and sleep in the heat.
|find the tea harvester|
More food exploration in Daan rounded out the day, and with that, our trip to Taiwan wrapped up :)
|we ate this-|
Day 14 - Wednesday, June 20
Time to fly home! Ahhh I start work on Monday….