Posts Tagged Taiwan

Random Signs from Taipei

I thought the signs around Taipei were funny.  Signs on vehicles, in the subway, store names, massage parlors and on windows.  My favorite sign is the one from a restaurant that had toilets as seats and fake poo all over the tables and on the walls… it was hilarious.  Needless to say, we didn’t eat there.

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Taroko Gorge

One day tour of Taroko Gorge National Park.

I would highly recommend anyone wanting to visit this area take a tour.  It is widely spread out and having a van waiting at the end of a 30 minute hike is nice, instead of having to hike the same way back to reach your vehicle again.  Our tour left Taipei at 7am, taking a plane to Hualien which was only a short 20 minute ride to Taroko Gorge.  We were picked up from the airport and overall the tour was amazing.  I now have the urge to go white water rafting from viewing the winding rivers throughout the gorge.

One of the highlights from this adventure was seeing Swallow Grotto.  This was an area of rock, really I should say mountain side, that has hundreds of holes that were carved by swirling water many years ago.  Now these holes are inhabited by Swallows every Spring to lay eggs in a secure environment.  Wind whistled through the entire area.  The Swallows were not there when we visited, but it was still a beautiful area.

Another highlight was lunch.  Sadly, after viewing all of the amazing mountains and trees, I was excited about an actual Chinese Buffet.  Back home I eat Chinese  food all the time… but now I can say that I’ve eaten the real deal.  Ironically, this buffet also had Gouda cheese.  That, in itself, made my day.  Lunch was at a 5-Star hotel, and the food was all amazing and prepared on site.  YUM.

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Scooter Gangs?

Never have I ever been witness to soo many scooters.  When the light turned green, I kid you not, 50+ scooters went through the intersection.  I thought, ‘Whoa, check out the scooter gang’.  Then I realized that at the opposite stop light were just as many or more scooters waiting for the light to change.  Scooters lined the streets by the hundreds.  Most of them were beat up and very worn.  It was insane.  Entire parking lots were designated for scooters only, and they were FULL.  It’s normal for every inch of the road to be utilized in order to fit in a row or two of scooters that weave between cars.  Taiwan has a serious scooter culture.

In this last  picture, look at the far right scooter.  It has a family of 3.  We even saw a family of 4 riding around a few times, some holding infants.  People rode scooters with their dogs, their children, holding pizza, hauling very large tanks of propane… Surprisingly they don’t have many accidents either.

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Taiwanese Cooking Class

To learn about a culture, is to learn about their food.  Cooking is such a relaxing and enjoyable event for me that it only makes sense to experience local cuisine the way it’s meant to be prepared and consumed.  Jodie’s Kitchen was the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Not only did we escape the insane heat and eat some delicious food, we learned about Taiwan culture and cuisine from a very altruistic Taiwanese woman.  I had such a good time… I’d recommend her cooking class to anyone that enjoys good food and good company.  We opted for the one day cooking class, but she has a variety of options to choose from.

Menu for the day:
  • Soy bean milk
  • Soft tofu with Taiwanese dressing
  • Sour and spicy soup
  • Black sesame paste: with veggies
  • White sesame paste: Taiwanese sesame noodles
  • Spicy Sichuan (Szechuan) flower pepper oil: served on pineapples
  • Spicy Sichuan sweet and sour dressing: served on cucumbers
  • Fried rice
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Claw Games

These machines were everywhere.  Walking the the tiny, crowded streets of the night markets, we spotted randomly placed Claw Games.  What made these particular games so interesting was the selection of toys.  Each box was filled to the brim with the exact same toy.  Bears, monkeys, space men, Mickey Mouse, tooth brushes, purses, candy, you name it… we probably saw a Claw Game full of that prize.   Each box contained a different toy, but still, it was odd to see so many of the same toy in one game.  Here are only a few examples found throughout Taipei.

The Claw Game Existential Horrorbean bags...

We did not play any of these games, in case you were wondering.

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Taiwan Flowers

Even more amazing flowers spread out through Taiwan.
Taipei is hosting the 2010 International Flower Expo. I saw them fixing and repairing the stadium on our visit.The event seems to be a big deal for the area.  Taipei is also home to the International Gardening and Horticultural Expo. After seeing the Taiwan country side and witnessing some of the natural beauty, I can see why such Expos choose this area to host.  I did not, however, get any pictures of the Botanical Garden.  It was an amazing sight to see, but I did not have the camera.

Purple Lotus (DSCN1240) Coreopsis

flower in the rain ?? Water lily

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Night Markets

You can smell the Stinky Tofu from a block away.  It’s the kind of stink that curls your nose hairs.  The kind of smell that almost makes you not hungry anymore.  But I’ll be darned if it didn’t taste OK.  I can’t say that it was great tasting because the smell was too much.

Stinky tofu lives up to its name

Stinky tofu lives up to its name

Night markets are common in Taiwan.  I read that Taipei is the New York of Taiwan, because it is a city that never sleeps.  The markets don’t start until 7pm, don’t get busy until 10pm and some of them don’t end until 5am.  Soo many people all with one thing on their mind….. food.  Fresh fruit, batter-fried meats, tofu, squid, a hundred varieties of fish, rice cakes, kebabs, smoothies, lo mein, fried rice, egg fried pancakes… Most people look for the dumplings, dim sum, mandu, whatever name you want to call them… the meat or veggie filled balls of goodness.  Luckily for me, there are many of them made out of rice and not wheat.  Other than food, I found inexpensive purses, shirts, shoes, souvenirs, bugs, paintings, nik-naks, and just about anything else you can think or want.

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Come to Taiwan… Welcome to the Sweat Box

Day 1 was a success.  I don’t have a way to post any pictures at the moment, but will as soon as I return home.

  • Met Bobert (our good buddy) at the airport
  • Confucius Temple
  • Taoist Temple
  • Night Market
  • Reflexology foot massage
  • Bubble tea
  • Heat, heat and more heat
  • Scooters that look like they’re part of a traveling gang… there are sooo many here
  • Amazing food!!

Taipei 101Taipei101??

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