Michael: What comes before anything? What have we always said is the most important thing?
George Michael: Breakfast.
George Michael:Family, right. I thought you meant of the things you eat.
As you can imagine, we started today with the most important thing: breakfast. There are so many small restaurants here within walking distance, it’s insane! On the doorstep of Nick’s apartment, there are at least 10 restaurants, and we’ve only been to one located there! This morning, we went to this egg-ceptional restaurant where we got breakfast sandwiches. Nick’s had egg and hash browns while I ordered one with fried chicken and egg. Both sandwiches came with lettuce, a similar tomato sauce that I mentioned in my previous post about the fried rice, as well as with cucumbers. Odd combination, but it totally worked. He also ordered this other thing (far left picture) that had sweet phyllo-like dough on the outside with a slice of bread, cheese, then egg on the inside. So many combinations that I never would have considered putting together, but they totally work! This fueled us up properly for the day we had ahead of us.
We set out to catch the train to Taipei, but first we had to catch a bus to the train station. The train was going to take another hour before it got there so we took U Bikes, Taiwan’s equivalent to Citi Bikes. However, I think biking in NYC is much safer than here. The rules of the road don’t really exist. As Nick said, “The general rule is that you don’t stop for things smaller than you. And people don’t even stop at red lights.” With that confidence boost, we set out on our way to the bus station. He continually warned me to check my surroundings and to make eye contact, because it’s very common to get hit by cars and scooters. Great, thanks man.
We rode to the bus station (each in our original condition) and found our way to the platform. I told Nick I was going to make him take all of the selfies, so I did. Here’s one of my favorites.
We stopped at the Chiang Kai-shek station to see this:
The beautiful blue and white structure straight ahead is the main gate and now bears the name “Liberty Plaza,” the entrance of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. This square, as well as the buildings on either side, have hosted many events since the 1980s. How cool would it be to attend a festival here? Or even have your own event?!
The building I’m standing in front of to take the picture above is the actual Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which is a national monument, landmark, and tourist attraction that was built in memory of the former President of the Republic of China. Here’s what that building looks like from the front. Also, I made Nick take another selfie, this time, using a Selfie Stick. #ifitinhere
Here we were able to see the changing of the guard (a 10 minute video that I took – if you want to see it, let’s get together in person because my phone says it’s too long to send the whole thing) as well as take lots of pictures. Nick is awesome and willingly took all of the goofy pictures that I wanted. See below.
I know I’m a photographer, but I also love being in front of the camera too. I know, you’re probably thinking, “But Jenn, you’re so shy!” Being me is tough sometimes.
From there we headed to Xinyi, where Taipei 101 is located, a large business building that also has a ton of restaurants around and a shopping area not too far away. While walking around, we saw a cute little street market where I bought some tea (whooooo!) and snagged a couple of awesome pictures.
I was way too stoked to find starfruit. I ate it like an apple. The other two shall be consumed when I’m back in Taipei. We grabbed some lunch before heading to Xinyi. Dumplings, anyone? We had fried veggie dumplings as well as fried pork dumplings. They ran out of the fried veggie ones so we also got to try some of the steamed ones. Here they have a plethora of dipping sauces, all salty and delicious. Each of these little bowls has a different sauce. We only tried 4, but they had at least 10! Next time we’ll need to order more dumplings just to try them all…
Once we were done exploring for the day (we’re saving some adventures for when I get back), we headed back to Taipei to get dinner. We stopped at one of the restaurants right under Nick’s apartment and here’s what I got! Some sort of spicy beef and rice dish. They weren’t kidding when they said spicy! Totally worth it.
I have so many more pictures I want to share with you of the streets, restaurants, markets, and life but I need to get to bed!! It’s almost midnight and I have to leave Nick’s by 9am tomorrow to catch my flight to Hong Kong. Today has been a very busy day of sightseeing, picture taking, eating, and just having fun. It’s been amazing to reunite with my friend whom I haven’t seen in over a year and a half. What better way to celebrate than with lots of food and fun? Ok, for reals now, goodnight.