Monday, May 16, 2011

Taipei Top 5!

Every year in Japan there are a cluster of holidays which fall close enough together to give us an opportunity for a little holiday. This year, despite some financial woes, I decided that I couldn't give up my best chance to see more than just this tiny island.

So, I decided to hop on over to the closest country (also a tiny island, but a new, exciting one): Taiwan!

I had a lot of great experiences during my short trip, and here is my Taipei Top Five! 

#1 Staying with Julie

I consider myself extremely lucky to have a friend like Julie. She used to work as a JET program ALT in Okinawa with me but finished up her contract and moved to Taipei. She is a sweet, extremely caring, and super fun friend. I was so happy that my trip to Taiwan meant that I got to spend time with her and see her nice, new apartment. 

#2 The Unintentionally Long (but Beautiful) Train Ride
On Wednesday morning, a big group of friends and recent acquaintances boarded a train to Jiufen (more about that later). Everything seemed to be going smoothly, but when we accidentally missed our transfer station, the express train we were riding on took us for quite the joy ride. The next station wasn't for another 30 minutes so all we could do was sit back and enjoy the ride. It was quite enjoyable, though. :) The scenery was beautiful, and we had this little girl to keep us entertained:

All told, our little side adventure put us back about two hours (I estimate) but it was relaxing, and we got to see more of Taiwan than originally planned, even if just from the train window. :) 

#3 Jiufen (The Spirited Away Town)
 Our real destination for the day was a little town tucked away in the mountains called Jiufen. It's famous for inspiring the anime Spirited Away but is also appreciated for it's stunning views:
...on a clear day, I suppose. Unfortunately the weather was less than accommodating so we mostly just enjoyed the food and shopping. Definitely worth the trip, despite getting soaked to the bone. 

"Tea Goose"

Shopping for Tea

#4 Sightseeing in Taipei
You can't go to Taipei without being a bit of a tourist, now can you? 
I also went to two museums on the same day. Brain. Overload.

 Taipei 101: The world's 2nd tallest building. Another dreary day.

#5 FooooooOOOoooooood!

Lamb and Feta Burger. When you live overseas, it's okay
to eat really good burgers wherever you find them. :)

Yummy Tofu (not of the stinky variety)

Night market food: fried noodles and oyster omelet.

A delicious desert made of peanut brittle shavings, ice cream, and cliantro! Yum! 

The "Modern Toilet" Restaurant. Everything is served in toilet-shaped bowls. 
Yum! ;)
Bonus: Dancing with Zombies! 
Actually, these are my favorite two experiences from Taipei, but it seems weird to have a Top 6. ;) 

Julie has been taking swing dance lesson since she arrived in Taipei. If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE swing dancing, so I was most looking forward to hitting the dance floor!
 The Taipei Swing group was awesome! Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I loved the location. I danced until I was drenched in sweat and beaming with happiness. 

After all that dancing, we took a taxi to Ximen to meet up with some of Jules friends. They were extras in a local movie and were all done up in makeup to fit the part. 

Happy Zombie! Ahhhhhh!

It was definitely the most eventful night of my trip, which was altogether wonderful. 

Thank you, Jules, so much for hosting me and helping me experience so many wonderful aspects of Taiwan. Perhaps after I am done here in Okinawa I will follow in your footsteps.... we'll see. ;) 


  1. Wow, that is an amazing pic of Julie getting eaten by zombies. Also, I liked the rest of your post, too :). Taipei and Julie are awesome.