Taiwan has beautiful National parks & Hot springs for tourists. But what do the locals do on a regular basis? Shop and Eat. And that’s pretty much it. And there’s enough of it to go around.
We boarded the train by noon and got back around 3 pm. I washed up and got ready real quick as some family friends were coming to take me out. Uncle Tza is my mom’s elementary school classmate. His family has become really close with my mother as she goes back almost every year or 2 for a classmate reunion. He’s a professor at a Buddhist College for Sociology. A very wise/witty man, who’s family you cannot get enough of, full of Love & positive energy. The type of family you wish to have one day & see on the Brady brunch. I doubt the classmates were all very close in elementary school (boys and girls have cooties here in Taiwan too), but there forms that bond of spending your childhood years in a certain place, and being able to reminisce of the teachers who spanked you to bring a group together.
He came with his 22-year-old daughter and niece & drove me touring around Taipei. Taipei is a pretty small city, wouldn’t take more than an hour to go north-south, east-west without traffic. But there aren’t really any high ways, and there’s such a huge population that it takes Forever to even go a block. There’s so many beautiful attractions around. The president’s house/government building. Monumental Parks. Temples. Arena’s. Expensive housing districts. 7/11’s in every corner like Starbucks.
Last Saturday, Taipei actually hosted the 2009 Deaflympics. I never heard of that, but wow! Deaf people from all over the world train for this Olympic and come together on this night to compete. Hence 1/3 of the population around town this week all signing to each other. It’s very inspiring. This week is also the announcement of a new government official, so roads are blocked up lined with tons of police cars and paparazzi. Very “tzuh-nau” as the Chinese would say – “Filled with so many fun things to do“.
Uncle Tza took us to Ding Tai Fong, which is a chain dumpling restaurant owned by a smart Taiwanese businessman who has franchises all over Taiwan and US. In LA, there is one in Arcadia. Any hour of the day you go to this restaurant is at a minimum an hour wait. You have every dumpling, bun, noodle you can find. At this location was 3 stories (typical of restaurants, even Mcdonalds because there is not enough space to build horizontally). It’s medium-ranged price for a Chinese restaurant (5-7$/plate) but damn the food is AMAZING. There is not one dish that’s bad, and it’s consistently wonderful. I ate about triple the amount a normal human should have. Besides the food being so delicious, the meat melting upon entering my mouth, it’s Chinese custom for parents to continually stack food onto your plate. And it’s also rude to not take it. Yum. They ordered spicy oil pork/vegetable wontons, leek dumplings, pork/shrimp buns, alcohol-soaked cold chicken, A-choy (greens), and more food which has blocked my brain from remembering more at this moment in time.
I was stuffed for the next 4 hours as we wandered Shi-Da night market filled with clothing shops and more food.
There are so many shops and a great way to walk off all your calories. The fashion is on par with Japan’s. But a lot of the clothes are extremely tacky too.
A beautiful blue striped halter dress you may spot from afar, will in fact dissapoint you as you get close and realize they decided to add a huge orange flower or lacing on. Some of which you can cut off & sew yourself since it’s cheap enough to not feel so bad about altering. It’s best for accessories and purses.
I just bought a purse for 7$. Love cheap shopping. You don’t feel so bad making the most of it, then throwing away. Hit & Quit. Li Ja shopped with me, we started to get worn out, stopped by 7/11 for my daily favorite drink: unsweetened green tea. Then uncle picked us up, dropped us off at Taipei 101 building – THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD, currently (until Dubai or somewhere else builds a taller one), for a photo-op. Unfortunately, it was too tall to capture both Jacki & it in, so we walked around just to be tourists. By 11 I needed to get home and crash.