Monday, 13 May 2013

Taiwan Day 1 and 2: Tamsui, Ximendeng, Shilin Night Market

Day One

My flight to Taiwan was smooth and I was excited to land in this place for the first time. When I walked through the arrival terminal I was surprised at the size of the Taoyuan International Airport, it was a lot smaller than I expected. The first thing I went to do was buy a sim card. Afterward I found out that you had to be at least 20 years old to buy a prepaid sim card in Taiwan which seems like a great inconvenience to me for people like exchange students who need a local mobile number too!

I bought a bus ticket to Taipei Main Station which was an hour ride from the airport. By the time I reached there it was around 8PM and I met up with the people who were supposed to pick me up. We ate dinner at the MRT station food court and below is a photo of myself and the other two interns for this internship project.

Day Two

The three of us are staying at a local family's house, so the next morning the uncle (owner of the house) took us to the local elementary school. We actually walked into the middle of a meeting between the teachers and the principal. After a quick introduction of ourselves we went to eat breakfast at a side street store.

It is approximately a 15 minute walk from our place to the nearest MRT station. Our local one is next to a temple.

We took an hour MRT ride to Tamsui to explore. We tried the local iron eggs and it was actually quite good but a bit salty.

Tamsui has a fisherman's wharf since it's next to the water. It was overcast today so there was some haziness but even on a good day the water itself wouldn't be blue because it is very polluted.

We tried some local fishballs and wonton both of which were very good! I've tried fishballs with meat inside before and didn't like them but I liked these ones.

After walking into the Tamsui area for almost an hour we reached Fort San Domingo which is a historical site that involved a history with the Dutch.

Leaving Tamsui we made our next stop the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It is located right out of the MRT station so it is easy to find. It looked similar to the Sun Yat Sen one I saw in Nanking before but much smaller.

The CSK Memorial Hall station is close to Ximending so we made that our next stop. This area reminded me of the shopping area I went to in Seoul. We sat down at an ice cream place to rest from all the walking before exploring again. It is very catered toward the youth demographic like many reviews say and there are a lot of accessories to buy.

We really wanted to browse the night market and eat food there instead of at a restaurant for dinner so we went to the famous Shilin Night Market. I knew that it was big and popular but I didn't realize how big it was! There are many crossroads and side streets but it was only mildly crowded.

We shared so many types of night market food that I didn't have time to take photos because I was too busy eating! We had fried chicken chop, fried milk, bubble tea, and fruits.

On our way back to the homestay we noticed this light board at the MRT station washroom. Thought that I'd share this which I find convenient to show which stalls are occupied in the washroom!

Write more tomorrow!

Take care,

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