Sunday, September 4, 2011

Taipei, Taiwan

After Jeju we flew back to Seoul and my parents headed back home. My summer vacation wasn’t over yet so I took a trip to Taiwan. I stayed with a friend, Shirley, in Taipei who is also an English teacher in Korea. We both stayed with some of her Taiwanese college friends so it was a lot of fun.

The New Taiwan Dollar

Our first stop was the Schillin night market where I got my first authentic taste of some Taiwanese food. Their claim is that the best cooks fled from mainland China to Taiwan, so we kind of ate our way through the market. Taiwan has a delicious variety of tropical fruit, so I must have tried almost every flavor of bubble tea!
Taiwan's famous dish - stinky tofu. It really smells horrible! It is so popular that we actually had to wait quite a while for it to come out. By that time the smell has really gone away and it actually doesn't taste too bad. It is basically just fried tofu with cabbage and soy sauce.

The next day we went to check out the Taipei 101 building. It is the second tallest building in the world, only to Dubai.

It boasts 101 floors above ground and 5 below. We went up to the 89th floor and to the observatory. We took an elevator that is named in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest elevator in the world. It took 37 seconds to get to the 89th floor where we had great views of Taipei City. We also saw some sites around the building, which one of my must see sites was the “LOVE” sculpture. The original is in Philadelphia so I had to see the replica in Taiwan.

Shirley and me at the sculpture 

In the Taipei 101 observatory on the 89th floor and below are some views of Taipei City.

This is the big wind damper and Taipei 101's little mascot. The wind damper weighs 728 tons and is used to offset weather damage that could be caused to the building. The building is made to withstand typhoon winds and earthquakes.

This is made of Taiwanese red coral

A list of the world's tallest buildings as of 2004

That night we went to the Miramar Ferris Wheel to get some great night views of the city. We ate some traditional dumplings that are filled with meat and soup. You have to poke a hole in them and drink the soup out then eat the dumplings. They were really good!

We spent the next day walking around some more markets and exploring more of Taipei City. Later that night we met up with more of Shirley’s friends for Dim sum at a famous restaurant. It was actually Chinese Valentine’s Day, so there was a long wait. When we finally got into the restaurant we ordered so many dishes that we just kept eating!

Mopeds are used all over the city. Similar to the amount that I saw throughout major cities in Europe, such as Rome and Barcelona.

The following day we spent the morning doing KTV or Karaoke TV, which is a famous activity in Taiwan. Similar to a Noreabang in Korea, but apparently it is an even bigger deal. This seems almost impossible since Korea does love their Noreabangs, but the room we were put in was very nice. We enjoyed a big brunch and sang some songs before I caught my flight back to Seoul.