Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ten Things I love about Taipei

1. In Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, the national monument of Taiwan, you find young dancers practicing in the MIDDLE of the national monument, children flying kites. To make it better, our hosts in Taipei managed to erect a DANCE FLOOR in the middle of Taiwan's NATIONAL MONUMENT. Beat that!

2. Even though they are not in the UN, they are AWESOME! And a full-fledged country. And they have everything you could ever want...

3. There is a QUEUE to ENTER the metro. Something even Singaporeans don't queue for!

4. Say you want to go to "Sun Yat Sen Memorial". You get it written down in Chinese from your Hotel and show the cab driver. He'll nod and say something TOTALLY different that sounds like "Chee Ling Waow" and take you to the right place! I don't get it!

5. Anytime I look mildly lost, a kind Taiwanese local who knows English and is miraculously going to the same place as me appears from nowhere to guide me to my destination!

6. The Mochis here are better than the ones in Japan :)

7. The concept of Night Markets, open at 6ish and rocking till midnight! That's what I call a happening town

8. Far-Eastern Style Food :)

a. The amazing noodles and curry. I have new-found but probably short-lived love for Chinese food!
b. Bubble TEA!Who knew bubble tea tasted good?! WHO KNEW!!

9. The contradictions!
On one hand : BLING BLING! There are so many lights . Every single billboard is digital and perpetually blinging! WHY? It is such poor use of electricity in the age of climate change, makes me wonder how developed Taiwanese really are.

On the other hand : Every single public dustbin has two flaps - one for recyclable material and one for trash. That is so wonderful to see! The really good ones have 4-5 flaps for different classes of recyclables! And this exists practically everywhere - in every single MRT station - it is great to see such environmentally friendly measures being adopted despite the digital billboards.

10. They have these things called Hot Springs, which are public sulphurous baths. There are many hotels where you can go just to use their public baths. Fortunately, there are separate baths for men and women. Unfortunately, these baths require full nudity - walking into the bath nude, taking public showers nude and being in the bath NUDE with other people of the same sex. I love that they are so open, however, I abstained from enjoying this attraction for personal reasons :)

11. An extra one for good luck. Luxy - I love you <3.

All in all, it was an AMAZING trip. As my friend Jamie said, Taipei is live-able!