Trip Review: Taipei, Taiwan

2019-04-11 08:36:55.677
Pretty cool view I snapped as we started to land in Taiwan

Hey everyone! For the last week or so, me and my family were visiting Taipei, Taiwan. One of the best things about living in Japan is how easy it is to visit other surrounding countries. I’ve never visited nor experienced any type of Asian culture before our move here, so it’s cool being able to just soak up all the different cultures. Two down, many more to go!

The plane ride was literally an hour and some change long. I traveled to another country in an hour. You can’t even drive out of Texas in an hour! (I make the Texas analogy because I lived there for quite some time) The fact that I can travel to a foreign country in the time it takes to watch 2 “Smallville” episodes is amazing!

When we finally got all our things together, we had to take the subway to our hotel.  I love taking the subway, I feel like it’s so nostalgic and personal. Unfortunately, I’ve never lived in a place where subways where available.

The first thing I noticed was how me and my family were intensely stared at by a lot of the locals. Which can be attributed to a number of reasons. The first being because of my big curly hair and tan skin, and my father’s dark skin and tallness. I predict it was also a bit odd to see a black and white mixed family. I understand that in this rather homogeneous society, we were quite the spectacle. But it was still uncomfortable to be so blatantly stared at in most public places we went to.

We booked a very nice hotel we suspected to be in an equally nice area. Unfortunately it wasn’t. The surrounding area reeked of street food, hot trash, and stinky tofu. (I can’t explain the horrendous smell of the tofu [insert shudder here]) the streets were crowded with many people most times of the day. At night, the streets would turn into night markets that sold a variety of things such as belts, meat kebabs, and hospital scrubs. Since none of us were in the market for any Minnie Mouse scrubs, we mostly avoided this area. 🙂

Our second day in Taiwan was actually my birthday so we did quite a few cool things!

We went on a Gondola ride that had an amazing view of Taipei. The gondola ride was a small cabin-type thing that was attached to a cable that spread across many miles. It had windows all around it so we could see a mostly panoramic view. It was hilarious to see the other passing cabins stare at us, one older woman even not-so-stealthily took a picture of us! (hence 4th paragraph)

That day we also saw a couple of temples that were quite spectacular. The detail that was put into these temples is so completely astonishing. I couldn’t imagine having the patience to complete some of the artwork I saw. I have so many other interesting pictures of the temples, so if you’re interested they will be posted in the gallery!

About an hour bus ride away from where we were staying was the town of Jiufen. There is a lot of history within this town, which I am not familiar with unfortunately. Although I do recall that at one point the town consisted of solely 9 families and had some kind of gold discovery. That about concludes my historical knowledge of Jiufen.

And to steer this away from my lack of knowledge, Jieufen was this adorably picturesque mountain town.

jiufen

Jiufen was about an hour bus ride away form where we were staying. Shops existed behind every corner and along the many winding narrow streets. The shopping was nice, the food was another story… The town is famous for their Taro Balls. It’s a bowl served hot or cold of taro balls, green tea balls, sweet potato balls, and some kidney beans. I’m actually quite proud of myself for trying this. To be frank, it tasted a bit like cold and squishy flintstone gummies. (no disrespect, just perspective!) It wasn’t exactly bad tasting, I’m just not sure I would eat it again. In the end I’m glad I tried it!

jiufen2.jpg

Okay, well since we’re talking about food… The sights and experiences were amazing. The food. Not so much. Here’s my theory. People who have grown up in Taiwan have adapted to the food and how it’s prepared there. So when tourists such as myself go to visit, our stomachs are probably screaming “WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING ME????” At least that’s what it felt like. My stomach was definitely not accustomed to the food and and in result left me feeling a with many post-meal stomachaches.

But this wasn’t my entire experience with the food there! I had the most amazing tea the first day. Many of the restaurants serve brown sugar and ginger tea. Oh my gosh it’s so good. My mouth is salivating right now. Okay, not really because that’d be kind of gross. But for real, it’s delicious.

To summarize Taiwanese food, a lot of it has a squishy and chewy texture. Lots of dumplings, bubble tea, and things made with tapioca. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. 🙂 And this isn’t to say all Taiwanese food was bad or that it all falls into this category! I’m sure some people love it! I’m simply saying from my experience in Taiwan with Taiwanese food, I didn’t enjoy some of it very much.

So sorry to end this little “trip to Taiwan” simulation, but that about concludes my trip! I’m really blessed to have been able to visit another country and I look forward to next time!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, I hope you enjoyed it. Have you ever been to Taiwan? Have any questions or comments? Make sure to leave a comment! Bye!