Published: March 23rd 2011March 17th 2011
After two months of tropical heat and humidity, we have hit the subtropics. In fact, leaving the airport it was decidedly chilly! For the first couple of nights we stayed in Da'an. There is very little English spoken or written around the place, compared with other places in South East Asia, so every day is pretty much an adventure. This is the reason we found ourselves eating a peach shaped ice cream snack with a sneaking feeling that we were doing something wrong...
Taipei is easy to get around, there is a great MRT. We put that to good use and visited a million different places. We went to the famous Shilin night market and I had a jelly based drink. We also smelled the famous stinky tofu, which smells like pig slurry! We also used the gondola to visit the tea houses and temples on the outskirts of Taipei. At the tea house you can either buy tea or bring your own and pay a water fee. The girls managed to teach us how to serve the tea, warming the cups and using a special tall cup to put the tea into first so you can smell the aroma
- not easy with no common language! There was a lovely view over the tea fields, good enough for there to be professional photos to be taken for some reason.
We also visited Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world. However, today was not the day to go to the observation deck since there would not have been much to see through the cloud. We continued the quest to buy some warm clothes, but apparently every shop in Taipei sells some kind of designer branded goods, unless it is a stall in a night market selling polyester.
The National Palace Museum is incredible - all the treasures which the Nationalists *ahem* took for safekeeping before the Communists took over the rest of China. No photos allowed though. However, this was also the place I had almond soup - which was just amazing, like hot marzipan!
Moving to the second hostel was an adventure. We arrived and found that the hostel was locked and nobody was answering the phone. Luckily we were not alone, Joe from Hong Kong was also there and in the same predicament - in fact he had not seen anyone since he
arrived midnight the night before. Anyway, after a two hour wait, Cindy eventually arrived. Ximending is a centre of Taipei nightlife, and it is amazing just to wander round in the evening among the lights of the shops and the crowds of people everywhere.
Food courts are a major eating event. The one at Taipei Main Station is pretty fabulous - so many choices! Plus I think I am getting to like the Asian style baking. And of course, Taiwan is the home of bubble tea.
Then all that remained was to get the fast train to Chiangi so the story could continue...
There are more photos below