The 32 Best things about Taipei

These are the 32 things I loved about Taipei – I spent the time between Christmas and New Years in Taipei with my fiance, Ryosuke.

(This is probably going to be my last Taipei-related post)

  1. Being able to eat Bubble Tea three to four times a day without being judged or paying a fortune. At around 20 – 30 Taiwanese dollars (0.60 – 1.00 US$) a cup, bubble tea was cheap, delicious, and widely available.
    IMG_6385One of the first days in Taiwan, after spending a couple hours digging through some stalls at a backwater wholesale market, we took a break at a nearby “café.” And by “café,” I mean a local place that served drinks. After we ordered, instead of drinking his tea like a normal person, my fiancé (Ryosuke) spent the next couple minutes watching people order and trying to calculate how much money the small Mom and Pop drink stand was making an hour. His conclusion: “How are they making a living? It’s too cheap!”
    I like cheap.
  2. These chicken.
    IMG_5994I confess, I never actually ate one, but when Ryosuke saw them, he jumped a foot in the air. No joke. And then he hid behind me.This would have been amusing if it was a one-time occurrence. However, this is Taiwan. In the five days we were there, we saw close to six or seven of these. Each reaction was funnier than the last.
  3. The toilets. No joke. I wrote an entire post about it earlier. And you know what? We’re not going to judge me for it, ok?
  4. I finally got to see the infamous Hello Kitty Airline at the Taipei airport. It was every bit as amazing as I had imagined it would be.
    IMG_6410
  5. The gorgeous temples all around the city.
    IMG_6065
  6. Going through a complicated, multi-step process in order to get my fortune told at the temple we visited. 
    And after going through all that work… it was still a bad fortune.
    This just hasn’t been a good year for me, fortune-wise.
    Our Taiwanese friend, Ann, explaining my fortune...

    Our Taiwanese friend, Ann, explaining my fortune…

  7. The Maternity charms inside a temple we visited. Not only were they aesthetically gorgeous, but they symbolized something so much more.
    When I first stepped into the room, after wandering up to the second floor of a re-constructed temple we found, I felt the tension in the room. A long, wooden table sat in the center of the room, burdened with fruit, food, charms, and fake, yellow, crinkled money that is burned for your ancestors. On either side of the temple were two enormous columns that reached to the ceiling  filled with thousands of small, golden compartments.
    IMG_6087
    Each compartment held the name of a woman who was praying for a child and all around the room, women were praying fervently, hands clasped and head bowed. It was beautiful.
  8. The public transportation system in Taipei. I also wrote a post about that earlier. 
  9. The heat. It was right after Christmas, and in the 70’s every day. I’m sure the summer must be awful, but compared to the cold Tokyo weather, the winter weather was glorious.
  10. The fact that most signs were not only in Chinese, but also sometimes in Japanese and English. That was pretty cool.
    IMG_6175
  11. I could vaguely understand what most signs said, even if they weren’t in Japanese or English. Japanese has three alphabets, one of which is shares with Chinese. I can read about 600 of those characters, which meant I could at least vaguely understand what a sign said (even if I couldn’t technically “read” it).
  12. Staying with my Auntie M’s best friend, Sue. She showed us around the city, helped us figure out public transportation, and tried her best to answer all the (probably annoying) questions I asked.
    IMG_5989
  13. Having several “local” show us around the city. Neither Ryosuke nor I speak Chinese and, looking back, we were rather ill-equipped for the journey.
  14. Fried squid.
    IMG_6158
  15. The sea-side city of Dansui.
  16. The giant shoes in Fort San Domingo (in Dansui). I finally found shoes in Asia that fit me.
    IMG_6212
  17. Watching the sun set over the mountain in Dansui.
  18. The fact that Sue and her husband partially owned a bar. I’ve never met someone who actually owned a bar before. Before we went to Taiwan, Ryosuke and I’s dream was to own a bar. Now we’ve realized how hard that actually is… and have decided to start some sort of business together instead.
    IMG_6248

    Their bar, Bund 18

  19. Being able to get anywhere in a taxi for incredibly cheap. It reminded me of Ghana. I loved it.
  20. The fact that the two-our Thai oil massage I got cost less than 40 US$. Best money I ever spent.
    IMG_6392
  21. Taiwanese food, in general. I’m not quite sure why this wasn’t higher on the list. Nonetheless, I loved all the food I ate (except for stinky tofu).
  22. How cheap all the food (and clothes) were.
  23. The Night Market(s). These are a must-see if you’re going to Taipei. They had everything there – including a Captain America dog costume that Ryosuke just HAD to buy (even though we don’t actually own a dog).
  24. This sign. Can you read it? Basically all your gum, soda, and food is crying that you left it outside the train, because you’re not allowed to eat/drink on the train.
    It’s cute. Believe me.
    IMG_6388
  25. The fact that no matter how many times I pointed to the sign, Ryosuke still drank from his water bottle on the train.
  26. The bathroom waiting signs. I talked about them earlier here. I saw these at some train stations. They tell you how many stalls are occupied, what kind of stalls are available, and how long your “estimated” wait time would be, if you had to go to the bathroom.
    IMG_6027
  27. This sign. Since we’re on the topic of signs… this was was very close to our friend Sue’s house. I passed it every day by taxi (or on foot) and it made me crack up every time.
    IMG_6142
  28. The Red-Light countdown. It told the driver (and passengers) how much time was left on their red light… which was handy, until you barely missed the green light, and the red-light countdown started at 300 seconds. Then it was pretty annoying…
    IMG_6378
  29. Taipei 101. It is the tallest building in Taipei – 101 stories tall with a five (?) story basement. The first couple floors are an enormous, incredibly expensive shopping center.
    IMG_6242
    I saw scarves that still had the American price tag of 5$, covered by a sticker asking for 450 NT (Taiwanese dollars), which equals around 15 US$. It was a little weird.
    The building was cool, though.
  30. The fact that everyone used motor scooters or motorcycles to get around.
    IMG_6092
  31. The wildlife and scenery.
    IMG_6348
  32. Taiwanese patriotism.
    IMG_5965
  33.  Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele
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2 responses to “The 32 Best things about Taipei

  1. Nice and interesting write up. Keep it up! I also love bubble tea. I will drink it without fail if I am in Taiwan (at least once) but now it becoming so popular outside of Taiwan that you can drink it anytime. In Malaysia, you practically can find Taiwanese bubble tea selling in the mall.

    • Thanks for the great comments!
      I love bubble tea – it’s gradually becoming more popular in Japan (as well as America), but is horribly expensive here… so I don’t get to drink it so often. I’ve made it with friends before, and that’s pretty cheap.

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