Taiwan Day 4

Continued from Taiwan Day 3.

This is my last day in Taiwan for this trip. Tomorrow, I will board a flight to Delhi. The thought of voluntarily going to the middle of a “Cluster Fuck!” is giving me some nerves. The truth is, right now, I am more freaked out than excited. Fortunately, knowing myself, this will change when I land and get settled. I am looking forward to my experiences in India that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

On another note, something I ate in the meal with 20+ dishes did not agree with me and I got sick last night. Shit!(no pun intended) If I am already having GI issues in Taiwan, where the food is relatively clean, then India will rape me a new asshole. Had no idea how I would feel this morning, but am happy to report that it was a flash flood and it went away as quickly as it came. I am not usually this detailed in reporting bathroom issues, but I feel like getting sick from food is such a big part of traveling to India that this issue should be closely noted.

Now that we are done with the dirty business, we can move forward.

One of my favorite fruits, guava. This will be part of breakfast.

This one was actually marinated in a sour plum sauce. Yum.

Wax apples, guavas, and apples for the rest of breakfast. My sister cuts up and dishes fruits the exact same way as my mom.

I have dual citizenship, and brought both passports for this trip. The humidity in Taiwan is always insanely high and it has an affect on things. I found it interesting how humidity affected my two passports differently. The US passport warps and curls open from the high humidity. The Taiwanese passport on the other hand is unfazed. I guess they made it with more moisture resistant paper knowing that humidity is always going to be an issue.

First stop is to go to the 7-11 across the street from the apartment.

Had to print out a hard copy of my trip itinerary and also make copies of my passports as a backup.

They sell the tea leaf marinated eggs here in 7(Everyone here calls 7-11 just 7).

There’s one thing that I want.

Looks almost like ice cream, but it’s actually rice held together with chicken blood. Yum!

Save this one for later when I get hungry.

I spent the rest of the morning taking care of logistics. Arranged for my pick up when I land in India. Tidied up my itinerary for the whole trip, etc. Then it was time for lunch.

The restaurant is located in the basement floor of this fancy mall.

Lunch spot.

They serve Japanese style hot pot. There are 4 different soup bases to pick from. I ended up going with three types to get some variety.

Sweet soy sauce soup base.

Two lighter soup bases.

There were so many different plates, sauces, ingredients, etc. that I felt a little bit lost. There were carts getting pushed around that had easily 20 more ingredients to add to the meal. I was a little overwhelmed so I just stuck to what I know best, which is just to throw something into the boiling soup, cook until done, and put into mouth until full. That got the job done.

Fancy toothpick.

That was a fun meal. Next on the list is to get a cab and go to the HSR station to catch the high speed train to Taipei. I called for a cab while we waited outside, in the 5 minutes that it took for our cab to come by, we could have had 10 other opportunities to hail one down. But, we stuck to our guns and waited for the guy who probably had to drive a bit across town for us. It was the right choice as the cab that picked us up was spotless. Sometimes, you get into a cab, and it’s been smoked in and that makes the whole ride terrible.

HSR Station. After buying our tickets, I realized that it would cost my sister and I close to $100 just to go up to Taipei and back. Not cheap.

Leaving Taichung where it’s warm and sunny.

About an hour later, approaching Taipei where it’s foggy and cold. Apparently, this weather pattern is very typical of the two regions and the climate changes pretty dramatically in just an hour’s worth of train ride.

Got off HSR and now we connect to MRT(subway).

My sister pointed this out to me. The women’s restrooms in the train station have an indicator panel showing what stalls are open and in use. What a waste of money. What’s next? A reservation system where you can reserve your stall hours in advance? Residents in other regions of Taiwan complain about Taipei getting too high of a proportion of tax money, and I can see that they have valid complaints.

Here comes the subway train.

I like taking photos inside subway trains. I’ve done this everywhere I’ve been on a subway. Hmmm, maybe I’ll go organize a subway photo album…

About to surface. I wonder what’s above…

Modern city with modern buildings. But, this is not what we are after.

We turned 90 degrees from the photo above and went into the traditional Taiwanese alleyways.

Yes! A Taiwanese street food favorite that I used to eat as a kid. These little cakes are similar to pancakes and you can get different types of filling inside. Popular ones are red bean, cream, and they also have peanut sauce, vegetables etc.

I always get the cream filling. Awesome!

We are in the electronics goods district. Laptop batteries for all different models. But the real question is, how much for the pimpin’ aviator style 3d glasses?

When I think of Taiwan, this is the image that pops to my mind.

Came to the electronics district to buy some more memory for my camera. Based on my historical data, I am guessing that I’ll take close to if not more than 10,000 photos on this trip. This fact makes me worried that I’ll break my beloved S95 from just wear and tear. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, I’ve got my iPhone 4S as a quick backup until I can buy a replacement S95 or S100. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Ink refill stand. Yup, there were tons of these stands all over the sidewalk arcades.

Another Taiwanese favorite street food, baked sweet potatoes.

Electronics heaven. This building had multiple floors of stalls after stalls of electronics shops.

Packed to the hilt.

Sexually explicit manga seems to go along perfectly with people who are really into electronics.

This is one that I used to read as a kid. Best comic book series ever! It’s about a robotic cat(the blue thing) that came from the future on a time machine with an endlessly deep pouch that contains all sorts of gadgets. After typing that out, I just realized how little sense that makes…Either way, it’s famous both here and in Japan where it originated from.

How long did it take for the vines to cover these buildings?

Back on the subway. Proximity sensor tokens for single ride subway usage.

Bikes get no love in a city full of mopeds and cars.

These buildings are malls. This is THE shopping area of Taipei.

This is a mall built by the wife and daughter of an electronics magnate(according to my sister). Anyhow, the whole purpose of this mall is just so the wife and daughter can have a collection of their favorite high end retail stores all under one roof. Basically, this is a toy costing hundreds of millions.

Ohhhh, first time to see a 458 Spyder!

I am smitten. I am usually a big fan of coupes, but I think the spyder version in hardtop form is more beautiful than the coupe! It reminds me of a cross between my two favorite Ferraris, the F355 and the F50.

So, that entire building is a mall. Oh yeah, did I mention that there are 10 of these buildings all within walking distances here? I did say that this was THE shopping area.

This was the mall that we were just in. The fancy toy, if you will.

My sister is starting her chocolate making operation here in Taiwan. She wanted to come here to do some research on competition.

Our waitress had on thick black plastic frame glasses, but she didn’t have any lenses. I’ve been seeing a lot of Taiwanese girls wearing black plastic frame glasses without lenses. My sister mentioned that it was because of a very popular local soap. The main actress wears glasses without lenses as a fashion statement in the show, and that fad had spread like wild fire. It’s a fad that irritates me a little.

I had Marie Antoinette tea while my sister had Earl Grey tea. I found our combined selection humorous.

What my sister got.

What I got. The colors mesmerized me so I had to get this. The orange color is actually edible colored coca butter.

I am really into myself.

That was an easy way to blow money away. I’ll take my cheapo egg pudding please. Now it’s time to go to another mall and meet my cousin and her husband for dinner.

Nicely lit buildings

Taipei 101, the granddaddy of all buildings here in Taiwan. For a while, it was the tallest building in the world. It literally pokes into the clouds.

Oh no, please…no….these are innocent people.

Dinner spot.

Saw this while waiting in line for our table. These girls sell desserts at this stand and they wear this mouth shield so they can talk away while handling your food without spitting or coughing in it by accident. I reacted by chuckling to myself while I took this semi spy photo.

Got our table.

My sister is friends with the hostess here. The hostess gave me an English menu without me asking. I asked why, and she said that it was because I spoke Chinese with a heavy accent. That was news to me that I now speak Chinese with a heavy English accent.

Sesame grinder before putting on the sauce.

Tonkatsu! Japanese style fried pork chops. It was just OK. I had Maisen Tonkatsu in Tokyo and that was so out of this world that every other Tonkatsu I’ve had since then has tasted very mediocre. Seriously, Maisen is unlike anything else I’ve ever had before. It wasn’t just an 11, it was like a 17.

We finished dinner, chatted for a bit, and I had to make my retreat back to Taichung. It was past 9 and it would take us another hour and a half to get back to Taichung from Taipei. I was getting increasingly tired from my jet lag.

Back to the subway.

Got on the subway and saw that everyone else looked as tired as me. We connected from the subway to HSR and I spent the entire ride back to Taichung asleep. It was a fitful sleep where I felt unbalanced the whole time. I think having to leave the comfort and safety of Taiwan Base Camp tomorrow is affecting me. Again, my traveling really starts tomorrow when I’ll be on my own for weeks on end. The adventure starts tomorrow.

Dragged my half awake body off the HSR train and into a cab, where I slept some more. I think I may have slept better in the cab than on the train.

To be continued at Delhi Day 1.

1 thought on “Taiwan Day 4

  1. love the ferrari pix. i agree i like the spyder better.
    i like the nighttime photos with the pretty lights. kinda reminds me of nyc in the winter.

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