Firstly, Happy Birthday Mom! We love and miss you. Wish we could have spent the day with you.
Today was our last morning in Kaohsiung. We called it an early night yesterday and didn’t get to walk along the Love River, so that was our plan for the morning. We planned to catch the 12:40pm train to Taitung, a small city on the east coast of Taiwan.
On our walk down to the Love River, we stumbled upon a breakfast place that had a long line (out the door, if they had a door). Long line ups have proven to be the most trustworthy source on our trip, so this was a good sign. It looked like their specialities were steamed buns filled with pork and cabbage (it had it’s own separate line) and sao bing (layered flakey flatbread). When we got there, the kitchen was trying their best to keep up with demands of the line.
We ordered a sao bing with egg and one with a Chinese doughnut. After we ate, we got into the other line and got two steamed buns to save for lunch later on the train. In hindsight, we should’ve eaten these buns right away when they were fresh and juicy. You could tell that they would’ve been amazing if we had them fresh, oh well, next time! (Tim: They were still good when we had them on the train, just probably not as good as they could have been)
After a satisfying breakfast, we continued our walk to the river. We passed by a baseball field that had multiple posters of the Taiwanese movie, “Kano”. The movie is based on a true story about a Taiwanese baseball team that goes to the championship tournament in Japan in the 1930s. Tim and I had watched the movie in Vancouver a year ago when they were touring the movie in North America.
As we past by the field, we saw the Korean flag and a flag that said “Doosan Bears Spring Training”. The team was having spring training practice, so we stood there watching the practice for a bit. The Doosan Bears are a professional Korean baseball team from Seoul. It’s funny that they’re a professional team, we saw half the team running along the river after but some were totally slacking and some were even just walking, so we thought they weren’t a professional team.
It was about 10:30am when we finally made it to the Love River, and it was already about 28 degrees in Kaohsiung. At least it was overcast or else it would’ve been more uncomfortable. Walking alongside the river and seeing some of the taller buildings against the water reminded me of Chicago. Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s “second city” after all.
After a sweaty walk back to the hotel, we picked up our bags and headed to catch our train to Taitung. The train was about a 2.5 hour ride (~175 km away). As usual, I fell asleep on the train. The train chairs are comfortable because they recline quite far back, which makes sleeping on the train a bit better! When I woke up, I looked out the window and all I saw was green, then I turned to the right and I saw the Pacific Ocean. It’s too bad it was overcast and very windy out.
We arrived in Taitung to Tim’s aunt and cousin waiting for us at the train station. They took us on a quick tour of some of the Taitung sights and brought us to the B&B we would be staying at. The host is a very friendly Burmese woman who moved to Taiwan for university and ended up staying here. Her place is very nice and super clean, cleaner than the last hotel we stayed at.
Taitung is the smallest city we’ve been to on this trip. Although it is a lot more rural than the rest of the other cities, I’ve noticed that there are a lot more noticeable backpackers (single white males). In looking at restaurants that were recommended on Trip Advisor, there are a lot of western restaurants for tourists – mainly pizza places. It’s only been just over a week of Taiwanese food, and I’m craving western food already. We found a compromise of western food and Taiwanese food that was highly rated on Trip Advisor – it was an American fried chicken place run by Taiwanese people.
The restaurant is called Blue Dragonfly. It’s basically like a local KFC. Tim and I shared a combo. It came with a drumstick, wing, and two “chicken pieces (Tim: Not sure what part of the chicken this was)” and a side of fries (was basically like a sprinkle of fries) and a drink. We got a slushy (“slash shake” on the menu) that tasted like pina colada.
After dinner we walked through the park that was filled with lanterns. It was so pretty. There was a mixture of printed lanterns and some that were painted by elementary school aged children (I assume).
We walked through the park and took our time looking around. The city is so quiet compared to everywhere else we’ve visited. It’s a nice change of pace.
After our walk, we saw a KFC and went to get an egg tart. I’ve been hearing about KFC’s Portugese egg tarts for a while now and finally got to try it. It was really good, perfectly flakey crust and warm egg custard. These egg tarts are only available at Asian KFCs. I would highly recommend them.
We took a longer walk back to the apartment and stopped to get some fruit. Taitung is known for their custard apple, so we decided to try one. We also picked up a passionfruit lime drink from a vendor that is downstairs from where we’re staying. Both were very refreshing and the perfect way to end the day.
Our internet was down so we called the host and she came by and brought us another custard apple! So now we have one for tomorrow.
Tomorrow we’re planning on seeing more of the beach and forest area. The east coast is beautiful with the tall green mountains and the ocean being so close. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow (Tim: And if it’s not, it’s out of our control so it’s silly to let it bother us, right Kait?).
This morning was the first day we set an alarm clock that we didn’t wake up before (Our jet lag is gone! Finally..) (Tim: I woke up before the alarm clock…). Tim planned out our Tainan day trip last night and said we needed to catch the train at 8:48am.
We got ready and went downstairs for free breakfast at the hotel. I had read on Trip Advisor that the breakfast wasn’t good, so my expectations were pretty low. We looked inside and the dining area was full of a Mainland Chinese tour groups rushing to finish their breakfast. None of the food was very appetizing, I took a scoop of congee and a boiled egg and that was about it. The combination of being surrounded by rude Mainlanders and bright lighting made me feel like I was in China. I didn’t write about our breakfast experience yesterday at the CityInn in Taichung – but I guess I should’ve because it was actually really good. It had a good mix of Taiwanese and western options and large platters of fresh fruit (I had a plate of strawberry, papaya and guava). Anyway, I digress, Trip Advisor reviews for these two hotels were pretty spot on.
After breakfast, we headed to the train station to buy our tickets. The reason why we were so particular about making sure we caught the 8:48am train was because we needed to go to Yongkang Station; this station is only available on local trains and the next one wouldn’t depart until noon. This stop was the closest train stop to the National Museum of Taiwan History. Tim was interested in this museum since it only opened in 2011 and wasn’t around the last time he was in Tainan.
The train ride was long since the local train stopped at every station, it took about an hour to get to YongKang Station. I passed the time by watching the Amazing Race on Tim’s tablet – he downloads shows whenever we have WiFi so we’re caught up with all our shows while we’re here. When we finally arrived and walked out of the station, it definitely felt like we were in the rural countryside. The museum was about a 45 minute walk from the station or if we had waited for the bus it would take an hour to get there. Since there was no bus, we decided to walk.
I thought the walk would be more interesting and that we would possibly get a snack or have a real breakfast along the way, but unfortunately there was nothing to see (Tim: Not nothing, just too interesting). We had to walk through a lot of industrial looking streets with non-existent sidewalks. Then for about 15 minutes, we were walking on a shoulder of a highway. I wasn’t too pleased with how the morning was turning out. I was warm, hungry and not enjoying walking like hitch hikers (there were no pedestrians in sight).
Then finally, we see a juice stand (Tim: Actually, the juice stand was pretty early on the walk). Hurray! They had all fruit juices for sale but we saw a pile of watermelons behind the counter so we just ordered watermelon juice. It was nice and refreshing to have on our long walk.
Finally, after about an hour we arrived at the National Museum of Taiwan History. The museum is basically in the middle of no where.
There weren’t too many people in the museum besides groups of elementary school kids on field trips. It was nice the museum was quiet, at least there weren’t hoards of Mainland tourists there. They probably wouldn’t want to visit this museum any how (Tim: or wouldn’t be allowed to).
The permanent exhibit of the museum is on the second floor where you learn about the history of humans in Taiwan – from prehistory to post WWII. The exhibit is easy to follow and the displays were well done. There is English written on about 90% of the displays, but if you go to the exhibits that are seasonal you won’t be able to read anything if you can’t read Chinese.
This museum clearly shows how much pride and love Taiwanese people have for their country. Before meeting Tim, I honestly knew very little about Taiwan so I appreciate him sharing his own family stories with me. This made going through the museum more important to me on a personal level. I feel like the Taiwan pride thing is a bit contagious, but at the same time I’m not Taiwanese so it also feel likes I’m turning my back on being Chinese. Although I didn’t know that much about Taiwan, I did know that most Taiwanese people do not like China (and love Japan) and I didn’t know why (but now I know). And contrary to that, a lot of Chinese people do not like Japan. It’s complicated.
I’m ethnically Han Chinese and proud to be. I’m proud of my Great Grandpa for having the courage to leave China to a foreign land to only face harsh racism and inequality while working on the railroads. But I’m far from Chinese in a lot of people’s eyes, but then I’m also not “white” enough to other’s. It’s something that I think about a lot and I’m sure a lot of other 2nd or 3rd geners do as well. I’m Chinese, but I guess more importantly, I’m Chinese Canadian, and I do have a lot of Chinese Canadian pride. I’ll probably reflect on this more as the trip goes on.
Any way, back to our day in Tainan. After the museum, we took a bus to Tainan’s train station. We then caught another bus to the historical district of Anping (Tainan is Taiwan’s oldest city and first capital) to check out the old Dutch Fortress, Fort Zeelandia.
We walked around the old town of Anping, which is geared towards tourists. There are a lot of food souvenir shops that sell shrimp chips. We went to a couple and they all gave us samples. I felt a bit bad we didn’t buy anything.
Besides the museum, Tim wanted to come to Tainan for their danzi noodles (or they’re often referred to as “slack season tan tsi noodles”). Tim had two places starred as options in the city. While we were walking around Anping, we decided to check out a place called “Chou’s Shrimp Roll”. It had a good amount of people inside so we decided to try their shrimp roll (which is shrimp paste fried with a batter). Tim noticed they had danzi noodles as well so we shared a bowl. Both dishes were really tasty (Tim: The noodles were just okay) but we knew that we would still have to go to one of the better places for it later on.
We caught another bus from the Anping district back to the city centre. Tim did research last night on danzi noodles and decided he wanted to try “Tu Hsiao Yueh”. It did not disappoint! These noodles were a lot better than Chou’s and were the same price. The fried oysters were very fresh and perfectly cooked. (Tim: After seeing this place, I realized it was the same place I had these noodles back in 2009 when I was last in Tainan).
We caught the train back to Kaohsiung and this ride only took about 35 minutes (an express train). It was another long day and it was nice to call it an early night. Tonight was the first night we didn’t go to a night market!
Tomorrow we’re heading to Taitung, which is on the east coast of Taiwan. Tim has relatives there and we’re looking forward to taking it easy in a smaller town. Tim says it’s his favourite place in Taiwan, so I can’t wait to see it for myself.
Today, our steps today was 22,500 steps. Not too shabby considering we rode a lot of busses today.
The beds at CityInn were really comfy which felt good after our long night. Today, we planned to head south to Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city and the largest port city. It’s about 200km away from Taichung, and about a 2.5 train ride on the regular Taiwan rail.
Before heading out, we wanted to go back to Miyahara to have ice cream and browse around to buy something for family at home. The store is a couple blocks away from the Taichung Train Station (not the high speed rail stop) which makes it really convenient if you just want to go to Taichung to visit the store from Taipei. Miyahara is actually a former eye hospital built by a Japanese optometrist (Dr. Miyahara) while Taiwan was under Japanese rule. After WWII, the building was turned over to the government then eventually sold to a businessman and became a ice cream/tea/fancy treat store (pretty random). Taichung’s famous pineapple cake brand (actually they’re originally known for their cheesecake) is called “Dawn Cake”, which has made Miyahara their flagship location.
When we were there yesterday, the ice cream parlour had a crazy long line up so today when they opened at 10am, we decided to try their famous sundae before we left Taichung. When we got there, there were only a few people ahead of us.
For the sundae, you pick 3 ice cream flavours and get to pick 4 toppings. There are 54 different flavours of ice cream (18 of them are just chocolate) and they all looked really good. If we stayed in Taichung longer, I would probably go back for a scoop of ice cream each day.
The ice cream sundae was very over the top but we both really enjoyed having it (for our breakfast and lunch). My favourite ice cream was the mango. The chocolate was really good too, especially when eaten with the cheesecake. But I always gravitate towards fruity ice creams/sorbets because they’re more refreshing.
We bought tickets for the 12:17pm train to Kaohsiung and this time Tim and I were able to sit together. The train ride was about 2.5 hours long. This train wasn’t as nice as the last one we were on to Taichung, but it was comfortable enough.
We arrived in Kaohsiung around 3pm and walked to our hotel, which was about 10 minutes away. We booked the “Cloud Hotel” on Expedia ($55 CAD/night), because of the decent reviews on Trip Advisor and mainly because it was a 3 minute walk from the Formosa Boulevard KMRT stop (which connects the two KMRT lines).
Today, we wanted to catch the sunset from the British Consulate Residences (which is on a hill overlooking the ocean) and go to out Cijin Island for seafood for dinner (I read that Cijin has better seafood than Keelung. I haven’t been to Keelung so I have nothing to compare it to) While taking the KMRT, we noticed how quiet the train stations were. It was a bit odd, we have a few pictures of how empty the stations and train cars are.
Kaohsiung is definitely a lot more laid back than Taipei and Taichung. There are way more locals wearing shorts and flip flops and you can feel how easy going things are. I like it!
On our walk, we grabbed pearl milk tea from “Gong Cha”. It was a fairly busy location with a large seating area. We noticed afterwards that they have locations all around the world, even in Canada (Markham). When we got back to the hotel, Tim looked at his expenses and saw we went to one in NYC this summer. I guess I drink too much bubble tea to remember. On a related note, Gong Cha is originally from Kaohsiung.
While walking down the same street as Gong Cha, we came across a place filled with locals eating noodles at 4:45pm. We looked inside and decided to share something since we didn’t have lunch yet. Tim ordered pork hock with noodles and a Sarsaparilla (sort of like Taiwanese root beer). I got some pickled garlic cucumbers as a side. Everything was very tasty and the noodles were perfectly cooked. And in true Taiwanese fashion, they had a container of fresh minced garlic to add to your meal – which Tim did of course.
Here are pictures of some of the interesting places we past by on the way to the viewing point.
After our pit stops, the sun was starting to set (you can see it on its way down while we were at the park) and we didn’t know if we would make it up to the top of the mountain. We found steps up to the British Consulate Residence (which is the recommended viewing point for sunsets) and basically went up as fast as we could. It was a good short work out. But unfortunately, by the time we got up the sun had gone below the horizon.
After walking along the pier and trying to get ahead of the masses of Mainland Chinese tourists (there were over 20 tour busses at the park), we headed to catch a ferry to Cijin Island. Cijin Island is a small island five minutes from Kaohsiung Harbour, known for their seafood and beaches.
The ferry ride there was 25 NT = $1 CAD and the ride was a short one. There were three ferries operating at the same time to and from the island.
Once we got to Cijin Island, we did a quick walk up and down the seafood restaurant row and just picked one. They were all fairly busy so it was a coin toss to see which one we would go to. I did read some reviews on Trip Advisor about one that was top rated by mostly Japanese tourists but I had forgotten the name. (Tim: the one we ended up at was only so-so).
We picked clams, snapper and shrimp at 100 NT per dish. My favourite was the stir-fried clams, they used a lot of garlic and basil. The deep fried shrimp was a bit underwhelming. If we had more people to eat with, we could’ve tried a lot more.
We decided to call it an earlier night and head back to the hotel. We took the KMRT back and again noticed there aren’t that many people using it. Kind of weird, right? Also, the train makes its transfer point announcement in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, English and Japanese.
Tomorrow we’re planning on taking a day trip to Tainan to visit the National Museum of Taiwan History and Tim has some other specific food he wants to try there.
Today we walked 21,000 steps. It helps being close to an MRT (or even having one)
I’m glad we’re spending another night in Kaohsiung, I really like the city so far. I like being close to an ocean and having the mountains close by too (reminds me of home). When we saw the ocean (Tim: straight) for the first time from the view point, it made me really happy. I guess because we’ve been in two land locked cities with a lot of scooter exhaust in the air for the past week; it made me really appreciate being close to water (I’m a spoiled Vancouverite). When we were walking along the waterfront, we sat and just listened to the small waves wash up against the shore. It was nice.
Today we planned on heading south to Taichung in the early afternoon. We still woke up really early at 5:30am (I’m always the first to get up) so we started to pack up our things and clean up the apartment before we left for the week.
It was early and we wanted breakfast, guess where we went? Back to 永和豆漿大王 (King of Soy Milk). We’ve been there three times on this trip so far but it’s been both of our favourite meals of the day and it’s within a 10 minute walk from the apartment! I know there’s supposedly a better place for breakfast in Taipei called, Fu Hang Dou Jiang, but it’s farther away and would require riding the MRT or walking 55 minutes (it wouldn’t have the same neighbourhood feel to it) (Tim: I’m also not convinced Fu Hang Dou Jiang could possibly be so much better that it justifies taking transit and lining up for it. I think sometimes people are just obsessed with having whatever is “the best” without concern for what marginal difference the best is actually better by, and at what additional cost you incur to have “the best”… I fall victim to this sometimes too). We’ll try it out eventually but for now, we’re feeling like the King of Soy Milk is our go to breakfast joint while staying in the area. We can’t wait for my sister and Noel to come, it’s 24 hours and their flight from Vancouver arrives at 5:30am, so we know where we’ll be going.
I was going to post a picture of what we ate, but I realize I didn’t take any pictures today. I guess we are transitioning into becoming more like locals. But I guess that’s wishful thinking, we both scream tourist when you look at us. Tim has a Vancouver Canucks t-shirt on and I’m wearing yoga/gym wear with a backpack 90% of the time.
We made our way to Taipei Main Station to catch our train to Taichung, which is about 175km south of Taipei. We took the regular (express) train versus the high speed “bullet” train to save some money and the location of the regular train stations are usually right in the city and the high speed train stations are usually at the edge of town. The tickets were 375 NT = $15.50 per person and the train ride was just under two hours.
When we bought our tickets from the machine, we were assigned seats and the only ones left weren’t together, but were close to each other on aisles. I was seated next to a 50-60 year old man and Tim was sitting next to a 20 something year old girl. My row mate fell asleep as soon as he sat down and was snoring the whole way. I decided to join him (I don’t know if was snoring, but if I was he was probably overshadowing me).
We arrived at Taichung Main Station and immediately saw our hotel from the platform, which made it easy to find. We’re staying at the “CityInn Hotel Plus Taichung Station Branch” for the night. The location is perfect for us since we’ll be leaving tomorrow for Kaohsiung. The room is small but clean, staff is friendly, they provide free bottled water and snacks in the room and even have free laundry machines to use downstairs. If Tim didn’t already do some laundry yesterday, this would be perfect for us!
After checking in, we walked down the block around the hotel and saw there were a lot of food and bubble tea options. We decided to have ramen at this place that translates to “One Heart Ramen”. It was a recommendation in Taipei by our Airbnb host but we saw it here so we decided to give it a try. Tim loves ramen (Tim: Sort of… I love noodle soup, and I love pork fat, so ramen is often a good fit… But in the world of noodle soup, it’s top 5, maybe top 3… “love” might be too strong a word) so this was a good late lunch option. The ramen was good but not amazing, Tim drank both all our soups still.
We got our bearings and narrowed down what we wanted to do here. We decided to check out Miyahara (Daniel’s suggestion) and Fengjia Night Market, which got glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. When we googled where the night market was in relation to our hotel, it was 7.5 km away or an hour and a half walk. Taichung doesn’t have a very good transit system – there’s no MRT here, just local buses. We decided to just walk to the night market and just see the city on the way there.
The streets outside the front of the train station (our hotel is at the back of it) was crazy busy. The sidewalks were congested and there were people sprawled all over the open spaces loitering. It felt like we were in SE Asia, which was a very different vibe from Taipei. But as we got further and further from the train station, the streets were much quieter, sometimes a bit eerily quiet.
Our first stop was the store, Miyahara. This store was recommended to us by our friend, Daniel. It’s such a nice looking store with lots of yummy things to buy (pineapple cake, cheesecake, chocolate, jellies, tea). We’ll likely go back tomorrow morning to buy a few things to try and to send back home. I love all the packaging, it’s so pretty! The busiest part of the store was their ice cream parlour. They’re known for making crazy sundaes, maybe we’ll try one tomorrow. They had like eight different chocolate ice creams – based on cocoa percentages.
After Miyahara, we walked in the direction of the night market. Taichung has a different feel from Taipei, a bit older and more rough around the edges. I was more scared for my life while crossing the street than I was in Taipei. We even saw our first scooter and car collision (well, the aftermath).
While walking along Taiwan Boulevard (for an hour), we noticed there were a ton of pineapple cake shops and wedding shops. Actually, the wedding stores dominated. They weren’t just all clustered together (although some were), but they were throughout the whole city. I guess the wedding industry is hot in Taichung! I’ll just share some pictures of what we saw along the way.
After passing by these monkeys we were more than half way to the night market. Thank goodness!
The first thing we wanted was something to drink. We had finished all the water in our backpacks on the way there (Tim: actually we had 1.5 full bottles still, Kaitlyn just wanted a fancier drink). We saw a whole street full of bubble tea shops in a row. So many choices! I read that Taichung was the birth place of bubble tea, which is also why I like Taichung. The prices for food and beverages are a bit cheaper than Taipei. We decided to get a passion fruit “QQ” drink (it had pearls, coconut jelly as well as passion fruit seeds). It was super refreshing, we sat down for the first time and it felt good.
After we rested for a few minutes and devoured the bubble tea, we headed out into the crowds. The Fengjia night market is right beside Feng Chia University, so the crowds were definitely very young. At first glance while walking through rows and rows of food stalls, we noticed there was more selection and more appetizing looking food than what we saw in the last few night markets we’ve been to. Basically anywhere with a long line up we wanted to try (Tim: Kaitlyn wanted to try. I prefer no lineups). But going to a night market with just the two of us isn’t ideal because we could only eat so much. We saw a long line up for this chicken place and decided to try it out. Not only did it have a long line up, but they had a TV screen blaring footage of the stand from local channels and testimonials from customers.
We didn’t know exactly how they were preparing it, but it looked good and the university students seemed to love it. We ordered the cheaper of the two options, not sure what the 85 NT option was. Tim said he would figure it out when we got back to the hotel when he google translated.
When we got the chicken, it wasn’t deep fried, which was actually surprising (Tim: Actually it was deep fried, just not battered). It wasn’t what we had thought it would be but when we tasted it was pretty darn good. Both of us don’t like white meat, but this was different. It’s hard to describe and the picture doesn’t do it any justice – actually the picture makes it look not that appetizing. The stall owner was a very nice chubbier man, he asked if we were from Hong Kong and then we told him we were from Canada. He thanked us coming to try his chicken.
After eating the chicken, we both looked at each other and we were full. Night market fail, we only got to try one thing! Behind the chicken stall was a gua bao (Taiwanese “burger”) stall, which is Tim’s favourite. The stall didn’t have any line up but Tim wanted to try one any way. Having no line up at a night market has been pretty accurate so far in terms of if the food is good or not. The gua bao wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good mostly due to the fact that the fatty pork belly in it, wasn’t pork belly at all, it was just slices of pork (Okay, so maybe short lines > no lines > long lines).
We walked around some more and I finally got to try the candied fruit on a skewer. The stall for this at this night market looked legit. It, along with most of the popular stalls had pictures of happy customers, write ups in newspapers, and TV appearances. This one also had a long line, so I decided if I’m going to have it, may as well be from here.
We didn’t really try any other food because we were full from that chicken. I really wanted something refreshing and we past by a watermelon juice stall. Watermelon is my favourite fruit so this was a perfect way to end the night.
At this point we were fading and our legs hurt. We found a bus that would go back to the train station. The bus was packed with university students and it took about 45 minutes. We stood the whole way which was a bit painful for me and we realized how much we walked. We finally got off the train and couldn’t wait to wash up and get back to the hotel.
Our total steps today were 25,500. This wasn’t close to the 44,000 from the other day, but considering we weren’t doing too much walking until later afternoon, it definitely felt worse.
Tomorrow we’re going to pack up, make a stop at Miyahara before getting back on to the train and heading down to Kaohsiung. We booked a hotel last night for $55 CAD on Expedia, good location and decent reviews. We were debating between staying one or two nights there because we were waiting to hear if Tim’s relatives would be in Taitung and Hualien (where we planned to visit later in the week). It turns out no one will be in Hualien for us to visit, so we may go to Tainan for a night. Tainan has a lot of sights Tim’s Mom suggested us to visit. Tainan is also where they recently had the 6.4 magnitude earth quake a month ago.
Any how, looking forward to seeing different cities in Taiwan. So far Taichung and Taipei feel same same, but different.
We ended up going to bed around 11:30 last night, which is late compared to our regular 8:30 nights. We were excited when we both woke up and looked outside and saw it wasn’t dark (it was 6:45am).
After our long day yesterday, we said we were just going to take it easy and that’s exactly what we did! What’s taking it easy in Taipei? Eating.
Other than a few sights in the city, doing as the locals do is basically just eating. Tim keeps referring to the CNN’s list of 40 Taiwanese food items you can’t live without and I don’t think we’ve even cracked 10 yet.
We walked to our new favourite breakfast place (I love that it’s so close, even closer when we move to the Airbnb) and saw it was a lot busier today and then realized it was because it was the weekend. The line up went really quickly and we ordered a couple of things to share: rice ball wrapped in a green onion egg, pan fried lo bak go (turnip cake), XLBs and a cold soy milk. Tim made me order this time because he thought it would amusing since I can’t speak Mandarin. I just took the pictured menu and pointed to things, it was pretty anti-climatic.
After lunch we walked to Zhongxiao Fuxing area and walked through SOGO- it’s basically like a Japanese Bloomingdales. We went to every floor walking around and taking advantage of their free wifi like hobos. We gawked at the prices of some of the items, like their Barbour jackets. My Barbour jacket was 22,000 NT, which is like $900 CAD!
Oh right, I forgot to mention that when we walked into SOGO, being that we were part of the first wave of customers to shop/browse this morning we were greeted by 10 people standing in a row (expressionless) bowing to us. Before we walked into the store I saw them and thought they were mannequins for a second. The girls were wearing Japanese school girl like outfits (Tim: not really) and the fact that they were expressionless made me think that they belonged in a Japanese horror movie. Tim and I will probably go back another day right when SOGO opens to record it.
After browsing through SOGO, we walked along Zhongxiao Road towards a shaved ice place that was recommended by a few people. The place is called “Ice Monster”. I think it’s in all the Taipei guidebooks because most people we saw there were Japanese or Korean tourists and they had their guidebooks turned to a page where all I could see were pictures of shaved ice. We got there around noon (just in time for lunch…), and ordered the mango shaved ice with strawberries. Mango isn’t in season right now in Taiwan so no fresh mangos, a bit disappointing (I know, more first world problems). Tim and I shared one order since we knew it would be quite big. As we looked around it seemed like everyone was ordering their own, it was lunch time after all.
The shaved ice was good, but it was pretty expensive for what it is. But I guess Ice Monster is in all the guide books and they are clearly milking it!
After our “lunch” we ventured back into the sun and made our way back to the apartment. We wanted to spend some time planning our next week, as we want to go around the island and visit other cities before my sister and Noel get to Taipei.
We’re planning on heading down the west coast to Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung and come up the east coast to Taitung and Hualien. We won’t have as much time as we had hoped to go around the island since our time in Taiwan is split up as to when we need to be back in Taipei.
I was feeling a bit frustrated this afternoon about not having had planned things out better and “wasting time” in Taipei when we could be seeing other cities since we have plenty of time here later. But I know I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay if we aren’t going to see everything and that “seeing everything” isn’t the point of this trip. Those of you who know me well know that I love to plan things out – especially trips and figuring out the logistics of everything. So to wing something like this is a bit foreign to me. I know it will take some time to adjust and maybe at the end of it I’ll be a different type of traveler.
On that note, I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of Taiwan even if it’s just for a day or two in each city we visit. We plan on leaving for Taichung tomorrow morning and will be back in Taipei next Sunday.
After a bit of planning and hotel research for Taichung, we booked a place on Expedia. It was the #1 rated hotel on Tripadvisor, close to the Taichung train station, and it was only $68 CAD! I booked using Expedia for TD, since it gives me 9 times the points on my visa. Basically this was the only thing we booked for the week, I was looking at other accommodations for the other cities but decided to hold off just in case plans change (see, I’m learning!).
So after a couple of days of not having any greens besides cilantro and green onion garnishes, we vowed to have some vegetables in our dinner. My favourite type of hot pot is Japanese/Taiwanese shabu shabu individual style, like Pearl Hot Pot in Burnaby. Basically they give you a big bowl of vegetables and assorted items like fish cakes, tofu, meat balls (it varies) then you pick your meat. Usually they give you an iced tea and a dessert all included in your meal.
There are a ton of shabu shabu restaurants in Taipei, but English material online for them is limited. There are only so many shabu shabu places that the “Hungry girl in Taipei” (food blogger) can go to and the majority of them don’t have English names which makes it hard to find online. We found one that was fairly close to our apartment, but when we got there the menu was pretty expensive and it looked too fancy for us. We decided to just continue down the street and see what else we could find. A few blocks down we found a restaurant with exactly what we were looking for! The restaurant’s name is 佶田日式涮涮鍋, which means, “Something… Japanese Style Shabu Shabu” (Tim: Ji Tian Japanese Shabu Shabu).
I was really excited because I had been craving hot pot and it had vegetables! We sat down and looked at the menu, the prices were less than half of the expensive shabu shabu place and also similar in price to our shaved ice from earlier. Tim asked the waitress if they had an English menu, she kind of giggled and politely said no. Tim told her we wanted beef and she pointed to the section on the menu that had beef (Tim: I know how to read beef in Mandarin… I pointed to the beef section and she and the waitress helped us pick out 2 different cuts of beef), we picked two different types (we still don’t know which one was which).
The drinks, sauce and dessert (ice cream) were all self-serve which was great. We made our sauces and Tim went crazy on the garlic. Taiwanese people love raw garlic on a lot of things. My mouth actually tastes like garlic at the moment…gross.
After dinner we walked back to the apartment. We both felt super full. Despite all the food that I’ve been posting on our blog, volume wise we haven’t eaten as much as you may think since we share one portion of everything. But today was our first high volume meal that we had to ourselves. It was the first time we felt uncomfortably full since being here. But it did feel good to eat some veggies…
Now it’s time to pack up and get ready for our journey down to Taichung tomorrow. Our friend, Daniel, is originally from Taichung, was just there last week (we missed him by a day) and gave us some ideas on where to go. We’ll definitely check out his suggestions, the Miyahara store looks really neat.
One random note, I’ve decided that the most popular dog in Taipei is a miniature red poodle (I’ll take a picture next time I see one). I think I’ve seen over 20 different ones in the past couple of days. I’m going to start a count on them starting next week when we’re back in Taipei. Also, on another dog note, people in Taipei don’t like to let their dogs (mostly white dogs) walk. Most of them are held and others have their own doggy stroller. Even the stray dogs that we see are extremely clean for strays. Dogs are living the good life here!
And our step count for today is only 18,600. Our chill out day meant we didn’t even reach half of what we walked yesterday.
So we did what we said we were going to do. We woke up at 4:15am (without an alarm), got ready and left the apartment around 5:30am. It was about a 30 minute walk to get to the base of Elephant Mountain (which has the best views of the city and Taipei 101). As we were walking to the base, some food vendors were prepping food for the day. We noted which vendors to go back to for breakfast. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that a lot of people start their days at 5am, I’ve just never been one of them.
We got to the base of the mountain around 5:50am. We read online that if you’re in good shape can get to the top in 15 minutes. I think if you’re in good shape you could actually get to the top viewing point in 10 minutes or even less if you sprinted up. We got to the top in 15 minutes, which, shouldn’t be that impressive because a man that looked like he was in his 80s with a cane was inching up on me as I was huffing and puffing up the stairs (Clearly I’m out of shape). FYI, we beat him up the mountain.
After taking a bunch of pictures at the viewing point we walked around other trails. There are a few other trails around Elephant mountain, called the Four Beasts Mountains. We didn’t do any of them, we just walked around a few other trails and saw a lot of seniors working out. The majority of them were super fit. This guy in his 70-80s was consecutively doing curl ups while chatting up the ladies close by. Another interesting thing to note is that there were a lot of old men who would perch on viewing points and yell. Then other men from other viewing points would “call back”. I wanted to join in too. I just “roared” at a squirrel that got scared and ran away.
After we made our way down from the mountain, it was about 8am. We went back to a fairly busy area called Wu Xing. We walked past a “rice ball” breakfast stall that had a line up. We decided to try it out and were not disappointed! This was exactly what I was craving while huffing up the mountain.
After we finished eating, we walked down “Wu Xing Square” which was an open market full of everything: meat, poultry, seafood, produce, dumpling makers, clothing, pretty much anything you can think of. This was place was bustling for 8am!
We walked up and down the block and decided to have “oyster vermicelli” soup. The soup is a thick starchy broth with thin noodles, oysters and large intestine. I mostly just drank the soup with noodles and oysters, Tim ate the large intestine. I really enjoyed the soup, I could probably do without the large intestine.
After resting at the apartment for a few hours. We decided to check out “Lin Dong Fang”, a beef noodle restaurant that was suggested on CNN’s Taiwanese food list (also vouched by other friends). It did not disappoint! I don’t have the same nostalgic feelings towards beef noodle as Tim does, so usually I don’t order it; but I have to say this one lived up to the hype. The noodles were nice and chewy (which is the way I like) and the meat was very tender. I ordered just beef and Tim ordered beef and tendon.
We heard from Uncle Albert that there was a lantern festival going on in Taoyuan and he suggested we check it out as it was ending this weekend. We decided to make our way to Taoyuan tonight so after lunch we walked toward Taipei Main Station to catch the high speed rail train.
On our way to the train station, we came across a huge Disney Tsum Tsum statue in front of a complex called Huashan Creative Park. We decided to check it out and saw there was an exhibition going on. We were lucky to have been drawn in to check out the area because we had no idea what this “creative park” was. It was a pretty unique place with different exhibits and independent artist boutiques and hipster restaurants inside old buildings. The feel of the area reminded me a bit of the Distillery District in Toronto.
We made our way to the Taipei Main Station area and ventured around the area with the intent to get back to the station around 4pm to take the train to Taoyuan. We were craving shaved ice since we haven’t eaten that yet. We found free wifi at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store, so we stood there for a while seeing if there was anything close by. Tim found a highly rated place on trip advisor that was about a mile away. We walked there only to discover it was closed. It was pretty disappointing. We’ll save that place for another day!
We walked back to the train station slightly disappointed (first world problems) and bought our train tickets to Taoyuan. Taoyuan is where Taipei’s international airport is, which is about 45km from Taipei. We bought the high speed rail ticket which costed $6 for a round trip and would only take 20 minutes.
As soon as we stepped outside the train station in Taoyuan, we were surrounded by the Lantern Festival’s exhibits. It was about 4:30pm when we got there so it was still bright out. We went to the food areas to eat an earlier dinner so we didn’t have to fight the crowds when it got dark. I won’t go into too much detail about the food, I’m getting a bit nightmarketed out. We had Taiwanese sausage, some BBQ’ed pork belly, squid and this drink with two scoops of this slushy ice in it. The drink and BBQ pork were my favourite. We went back for one more drink at the end of the night! We spent 275 NT or $11 at the food stalls for dinner.
We were planning on staying at the festival until the fireworks at 8pm. As soon as the sun set, the lights all came on and the whole area came to life. I loved all the hanging lanterns and I’ll share some of the lantern displays I liked the most.
We were worried that there would be a mad rush to get back to the train right after the fireworks ended so we made sure to stay close to the exit. We estimated that there must have been over 50,000 people there (the grounds were massive). After looking at the majority of the lantern exhibits (we didn’t look at all of them, there were probably hundreds), we were feeling pretty drained. It was 8pm and no fireworks came on, Tim asked one of the security guards when the fireworks were starting and he said they were cancelled for tonight but would be on tomorrow. That was let down as we were waiting until 8pm for the fireworks! Every half hour the huge monkey in the middle of the festival “came to life” and lit up and did a slow 360 degree rotation to everyone’s excitement (except mine, the monkey creeped me out).
I wished the festival was on for another few weeks, I think Nate would have really like it! This was the first time that we saw so many kids and strollers.
After discovering there were no fireworks we left and feeling more drained than ever. Luckily leaving the festival was super organized because at that point I don’t think we could’ve handled it. This was the latest we’ve stayed up since being here and we didn’t really even have an afternoon break! We both fell asleep on the train ride back to Taipei. When then had to transfer and take the MRT back to the apartment. We both decided that tomorrow is going to be a chill out day and my post will likely be a lot shorter. I’m finding it hard to be able to just relax and adjust to the fact that we’ll be here for a month.
Tim checked our steps for today, and it’s an all time high 44, 500. No wonder we’re beat!
We woke up this morning at 4:30am and by the time we got ready to go it was about 8:30am. We decided we should try to take advantage of our jet lag and catch the sunrise from Elephant Mountain (which has good views of Taipei 101) at least once this trip. So we’ll attempt to do that tomorrow! This whole waking up for the sunrise thing is a “Tim thing”. Before him, I wouldn’t wake up to watch the sunrise and then when he visited me in Chicago on a work trip and made me wake up at 5:30am to watch the sunrise at “the bean” – which was actually pretty amazing! Anyways, the plan is to wake up early and hike up the mountain to watch the sunrise with Taipei 101 in the background. We’ll see if that happens tomorrow.
Ok back to today. Tim was looking at CNN’s list of “40 Taiwanese foods we can’t live without” to see if there was anything close to our walking route for the day. He wanted to try the recommended place for braised pork over rice (similar to what we ate on Day 2 at Formosa Chang).
We took the same route as we did yesterday, passing by the Airbnb apartment we’d be staying at when my sister and Noel arrive. As we walked past the apartment, we stopped by a food stall (which looked like a husband and wife team) with a lady rolling out green onion pancake dough. Tim ordered one and we sat down to wait for it. The husband gave us free warm soy milk while we waited – which was very nice of him (so far, everyone we’ve encountered in Taipei have been so friendly). We ate our green onion pancake and kept walking.
I enjoy walking through all the small streets and alleys to see if there’s any restaurants or shops that look popular among locals (line ups are always a good sign!).
We came across this place in one of the alleys on our way to the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Park. There were two old ladies making buns and Shaobing (燒餅) in a stand up oven (bin), sticking the dough to the sides of the bin similar to a tandoor. There were several locals waiting there for the bread to finish so we stopped to give one a try; we ordered one with green onion in it. As we were waiting for ours to finish cooking, the lady grabbed a wet mop and stuck it into the oven (to my horror). I don’t know what she was doing with it as there was still buns in there! The mop looked pretty dirty. Tim turned to me and was like, did you get a picture of that? I said no. I guess I was a bit horrified at what was going on. Two minutes later, she pulled our hot bun out of the oven and we continued our journey as we munched on it. I hope we don’t get sick tomorrow. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
We made it to the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Park, which I thought was pretty impressive. It was only about 10am when we got there so it wasn’t that crowded, just a few groups of Japanese school girls around. We stood in the middle of the square taking pictures and selfies like everyone else under the beating sun. It was only 10am and the sun felt a lot stronger than yesterday. For some reason Disney has a Frozen exhibit in the middle of the square right in front of the actual Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. It’s been there since Christmas and is there until mid-April. It’s too bad that it’s set up right in the middle of everything, it’s a bit of an eye sore when taking pictures and each time we walked past it, we heard “Let it go” blaring inside.
We basically just went to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall today on the way to eat braised pork on rice. Tim doesn’t cook much Taiwanese food at home, but when he does, it’s usually this dish. He’s made a few batches and they’ve all been really good (fatty but good). We found the place, Jin Feng Minced Pork Rice , mostly due to the large amounts of people surrounding it. We found an empty table in the back of the restaurant, sat down and stared at the order form for a bit. Tim can speak Taiwanese and Mandarin but can’t read and I’m… useless. Luckily Tim recognized some of the characters and we ordered one large rice to share (large in Asia is half of a side order in America). It was good, the fat made the rice taste velvety (those were Tim’s words). (Tim: But they have mushrooms in their sauce, which I’m not a big fan of.)
At this point, the sun was feeling a lot hotter and I kept thinking about drinking bubble tea or having shaved ice. I actually was craving a slurpee from 7-Eleven multiple times during our walk. But there are no slurpees at 7-Eleven in Taiwan! (I know, I sound like an ignorant foreigner)
Finally, we made it to Ximending. This area according to Tim is a trendy area and popular with “young people” – which makes us sound super old when we refer to others as “young people”. I guess we’re not that young anymore.
This area is full of food vendors, chain restaurants, branded shops and nightmarket-esque stalls. I enjoyed walking up and down the busy and flashy streets. There were multiple bubble tea shops on each street, which made me really happy. We saw there was a “Hot Star Chicken”, which is a Taiwanese chain specializing in deep fried chicken cutlets, and this location also served bubble tea. We ordered a passion fruit drink with aloe and coconut jelly (95 NT = $3.80 CAD, Tim got up sold on adding aloe AND coconut jelly) then walked around Ximending before deciding we wanted to try the chicken. When we ordered the chicken, the guy gave us a coupon for 5 NT off our drink purchase. (Tim: We should have bought the chicken before we got a drink). We then looked at the sign and it said “Buy meals get drinks with discount.” Apparently we can’t read English either.
At this point, we were both pretty exhausted from the sun and walking (we’re weak sauce). We decided to take the MRT back to the apartment and rest. We had plans to hike up Elephant Mountain this afternoon that’s not happening.
At about 6:30pm, we were still feeling sleepy and knew that we had to get out of the apartment or else we’d both fall asleep and probably end up waking up at 3am. We got changed and went out to the closest nightmarket to us, Tonghua/Linjiang Nightmarket, which was about a 5 minute walk.
The Tonghua Nightmarket has a good mixture of clothing and food vendors. We started off by having an oyster omelet. It was my first time having it. The flavours were all really good, but I wasn’t too crazy about the chewy starch part.
The next item on the menu was a deep fried green onion pancake with an egg. This was actually really good, especially when you got to the yolk part.
For dessert, I ordered a “UFO disc” with creme brûlée custard inside. This was like eating a warm egg tart.
Tim’s choice for dessert was “Masa’s delicious spring roll” which was made up of cilantro (yeah, it was weird), ground up peanut brittle, 3 scoops of ice cream (pineapple, taro and red bean) wrapped up like a spring roll. I was the first to take a bite, it was interesting. I think the cilantro threw me off as I was expecting something savoury but just tasted ice cream. I can see how it could be refreshing on a hot summer day. Tim really enjoyed it!
Now we’re back at the apartment washed up and ready for bed, at 8:30pm… stupid jet lag.
After our day of travel, we woke up at 6:30am, feeling refreshed and excited to explore! The first thing that came to our minds was, Taiwanese breakfast. We’re staying around the Daan and Xinye Anhe MRT stations so we decided to pick something close by. I googled “The best Taiwanese breakfast in Taipei” (I know, my google skills are top notch).
永和豆漿大王 (English translation is “King of Soy Milk”) came up as one of the top picks that was only about a 10 minute walk from us. We left the apartment around 8am, and made our way to the breakfast place. From the looks of it and the amount of locals inside, it looked promising.
Everything hit the spot. The Chinese doughnut was super light and just out of the fryer which made it super delicious. I can see us going here multiple times during our time in Taipei. I have to keep telling myself that we’re here for a while, so we don’t have to eat everything in the next two days.
After breakfast we went to Daan Park (Taipei’s “Central Park”) and walked around and checked out the children’s playground area. My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew (20 months) will be visiting us in Taiwan in two weeks so I wanted to check out to see if it was “Nate friendly”, and it was!
I always love to visit parks in the middle of the city, to escape the hustle and bustle. Although Taipei is a pretty laid back city, there wasn’t that much crazy hustle and bustle to get away from, but it’s always nice to have that option. Tim and I said we could go running around the park together, we’ll see if that actually happens…
We continued our walk to Taipei 101. Last time I was in Taipei, we went at night so we didn’t really get any good views or were able to go inside. When we got to Taipei 101, they had just opened the doors to the mall at 11:00am, it was like we were waiting for it to open like the several groups of Chinese tourists. The mall is filled with multiple floors of luxury brands and free wifi!
Din Tai Fung also has a location at Taipei 101, so we decided to just go and have some xiao long baos. We know we’d go again (likely to the original location) with my sister and Noel. We didn’t have to wait for a table, which was good but when we left the line ups looked outrageous (Tim: Actually, the sign said 5 minute wait).
We ended up ordering 10 XLBs (200 NT), Green beans with minced pork (110 NT), and Beef Noodle (230 NT) = 540 NT + 10% Service Charge = 594 NT = $24 CAD (Tim: Current “priciest meal” champ). Everything was good and the service was excellent – my tea cup was never empty.
After our early lunch we walked around to the neighbouring malls and checked out Eslite 24 hour bookstore (8 levels) which was also filled with so many cool boutiques and restaurants within the store. If this wasn’t a backpacking trip for us, I would probably buy a lot from here.
On our way back to the apartment, we passed by the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and decided to check it out. It was filled with Chinese tourists – which was reminiscent of some of the temples we saw in Bangkok with all the tour groups being dumped there at once. Inside, they had the changing of guards in front of a huge statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
At this point in the afternoon, it was about 25 degrees celsius and we were both wearing t-shirts and jeans. With the sun beating down on us, we were warm (Tim was obvs sweating)! It was funny because we passed by so many people wearing parkas, wool jackets and 80% of people had scarves (it is winter I guess..). Even when we got back to the apartment, a lady talking to the doorman looked at us and said “they hardly have any clothes on, it makes me feel like I’m wearing too much” (this was Tim’s English translation for me). Maybe we’ll start to acclimate soon.
It was nice to relax in the afternoon – I started this blog and Tim caught up on the Walking Dead. We started to get a bit sleepy but we had to get ready for dinner with Uncle Albert.
Uncle Albert picked us up at around 6pm and we headed to the Ningxia Nightmarket for dinner. I was pretty excited for this because last time we were here, I was only able to eat one thing (stinky tofu) at the Shilin Nightmarket because we had a huge dinner beforehand. We ended up starting off at a Taiwanese chain restaurant called “Formosa Chang” for their stewed pork on rice and a couple of other sides. We ventured back out to the stalls and Uncle Albert ordered us a bunch of things to share – BBQ steak bites, bacon wrapped chives and a shrimp paste patty wrapped in a spring roll but presented like a pancake. We also ordered a chicken thigh that was fried, grilled and glazed (delish!) and I got my favourite ai-yu jelly drink.
After our non-stop eating, Tim and I were fading. It was 8pm and we both fell asleep in the car ride back. We washed up and Tim tried to finish watching the end of Survivor and we fell asleep at 9pm.
I got woken up by a phone call and couldn’t go back to sleep – it was 4:30am. I started to write this blog post and catch up on what happened on the Bachelor on Monday (I knew Ben didn’t love Caila… poor girl)
To offset everything we ate, we walked 24,761 steps yesterday. Yay!
The day has finally arrived! After talking about this trip for a few months now, it is finally happening! The last two weeks since being off work were quite hectic/stressful; moving out of our apartment and trying to prepare for our trip. We spent our last few nights in my parent’s basement – which is where we stored everything (thanks Mom & Dad!). We woke up early this morning (mostly due to nerves) to last minute pack and have breakfast with my parents. They drove us to the airport and we said our goodbyes. My Mom always makes me tear up when she says goodbye at the airport.
Travel days are always the most tiring, especially when your flight isn’t a direct one. As we were flying on Aeroplan points, our only option to get to Taipei was to fly through San Francisco. This increased our travel time by a few hours – both layover time and overall flight time.
We left YVR at 12:40pm and had about a 1.5 hour layover at SFO. This was enough time to get a bowl of Boudin’s clam chowder (my childhood fave when we visited our SF relatives) and check out the EVA Air lounge. Since we got to the lounge with only about 10 minutes until boarding, there wasn’t much (rather any) food left. We grabbed a pineapple juice and a bag of chips and went to our gate.
It was my first time flying EVA (Tim doesn’t remember if he did as a kid). I had no complaints, the flight attendants were attentive and friendly. They were, however, a bit stingy with the amount of juice they poured into your cup (they barely filled half). But I did appreciate that they had more “exotic” choices like guava juice and Calpis. The food on the flight was comparable to Cathay’s. I had the fish on rice and Tim had the western option of roasted chicken and potatoes. I think mine was better as Tim didn’t finish his. (I was right, Tim confirmed it was just “okay”)
The inflight entertainment movie selection was good – it had a lot of the Oscar nominated movies like, Brooklyn, Carol, The Big Short; and it even had Star Wars, The Force Wakens! I watched The Big Short, but fell asleep before it ended (a typical Kaitlyn move). We both ended up sleeping close to 8 hours which made the flight seem a lot shorter. I woke up as we were flying over Japan with only a couple hours left to go.
We arrived at Taoyuan Airport in Taipei at around 9:45pm. The customs line up for non-citizens was pretty long. We waited about 20 minutes but it didn’t seem so bad because there’s free wifi at the airport (I don’t take free wifi for granted at airports)! While waiting in the customs line, I thought the guy in front of us smelled (like a homeless type of smell), but after further investigation I discovered it was me. It was my Band-Aid I put on in the morning that was damp from washing my hands throughout the day…so gross.
By the time we got through customs our bags were already out. Tim’s Uncle Albert was waiting for us as we walked out. He drove us into the city and brought us to the apartment that we are staying at. Last time we were here in 2013, there was no wifi, so we were happy to discover that they now have wifi! (yay!) It’s around 1:30am right now and both of us are wide awake. Tim hooked us his chrome cast to the TV and was scrolling through Taiwanese Netflix, he was pretty pumped that they have “Better Call Saul”, which we don’t have apparently.
Looking forward to taking it easy tomorrow and exploring our surroundings in Taipei.