Friday, February 19, 2016

Taking Over Taiwan: Transportation, Temples, and General Shenanigans

Brace yourself, it's about to be a bumpy ride. Not in a bad way. Just in a "here's all the other pictures from Taiwan that I want to share, but didn't know what to do with" sort of way. 

I saw some pretty wild things while in Taiwan. Asia is SO different from Latin America (duh); I think I walked around all week with my eyes as wide as saucers. 

Let's start at the beginning.

Transportation. I'm no stranger to flying, but flying to Asia almost killed me. Actually, flying there wasn't too bad, but flying home made me want to die. I've been spoiled with flights to Rio because, while they are long, they're overnight so you don't actually lose a day or anything. Flights to Taiwan left in the morning, so between that and the time differences, I spent two days traveling. About 28 hours, but two days. When flying home, I was traveling for about 34 hours, yet left and arrived on the same day. It was rough.

I did get a few more stamps in my passport, a stopover in Japan, and my first experience in First Class (four times, but who's counting?). All in all, the flying to and from Taiwan wasn't the worst think that has happened to me. Thank you, ZzQuill.

As far as transportation in Taiwan, is there anything we didn't do? My preferred mode of transportation (in life and in Taiwan) will always be the scooter. Made even better in Taiwan because full body ponchos (to protect from rain) and face masks (to protect your mouth and nose from cold) are encouraged. Over the course of my five day stay, we also traveled by MRT, local trains, bus, and HSR (High Speed Rail). Because who doesn't love taking in the views of Taiwan at 160mph? Don't worry, barf bags included. 

Temples. Along with bubble tea shops and scooters, Taiwan has more temples that I could ever count. And it was awesome. Tracy took me a number of different temples both in Hsinchu and in Taipei. In Hsinchu, she taught me how to check my destiny and I walked away with mine-- written entirely in Chinese. I'm still waiting for the translation, so hold tight. We also went to a temple that was inside a night market (which is where I found the Buddha statue) as well as Longshan Temple, both of which are in Taipei. 

Noms. I didn't eat anything too wild while in Taiwan. Really this sort of thing is best done when in a large group of people so that you can all get something different and just taste little bites. For example, I wanted to try grilled cuttlefish, but knew for certain that I didn't want the whole thing. Lots of Taiwanese food is best for shares. Tracy and I did indulge in dumplings, bubble teas, sticky rice and bamboo leaves, shaved ice covered in strawberries and condensed milk, sweet potato balls with plum powder, noodles with meat (which we ordered by pointing to what a man was already eating at the restaurant), mochi, wax apples, dragon fruit, jujube, and some 7/11 treats like Passion Fruit Yogurt Green Tea and chicken rice wraps. After four and a half years of rice and beans, Taiwanese food was a nice change of pace.

General Shenanigans. Let's be real. If your life isn't full of shenanigans, are you really even living? I definitely had my fair share of fun in Taiwan, so it was certainly a successful trip. Not only did we kill ourselves laughing with the whole row of Asians across from up on the train whip out their GameBoys (circa 2000-ish?), we also starred in a variety of photographs with Asians (some of whom approached us by saying "this would look great on my Facebook page." Wait, what?), shopped for any and all Chinese New Year decorations (it's the Year of the Monkey now, by the way), scootered all over Hsinchu in search of adventure and mochi (which, of course, we found), and mastered peeing in squatty potties (I only peed on my foot once, how's that for an accomplishment?)

I also learned about five words in Chinese, all of which I can recognize and none of which I can say. So if anyone wants to write a sentence about a big, middle, person who is hot and has tea, I'll gladly read it back to you. Anything else and I'm out. I can say "thank you" in Chinese which is startling similar to how you say "pee" in Portuguese. Imagine my surprise in hearing hat for the first time.

And with that, Taiwan officially tops my list as the cutest little country I have ever been to.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh! I absolutely love everything about this post!!! Sums up my life here quite well! haha