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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Our First Day in Taiwan

It is Sunday morning here in Taiwan.  We have had the privilege of speaking with our three children who are at my parent's house in Delaware, as well as one of my sisters in Chile, South America, this morning.  Isn't technology wonderful?  As we get ready to head out for our second day of adventures in Taipei, I want to let you know about yesterday's happenings...

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After arriving at our hotel and getting cleaned up and acclimated, we decided to head out and see what we could see.  It looked like rain, so we ditched the idea of going to the open air flower and jade markets and decided instead to head down towards Taipei 101 and that area of town.  The subway was pretty easy to figure out, although I'm pretty sure we looked stupid at first, trying to figure out how to get the card we needed.  But, we figured it out on our own, so I'm pretty proud of us!  The subway itself reminds me a lot of the metro in Chile--clean and efficient.  It was Saturday here, so I guess we were seeing the weekend crowds and not necessarily the business crowds.  We made it to the station where we were to get off for Taipei 101, but we had to walk quite a distance to actually get to the building itself.  We managed to make it before the rain, but by the time we got to the observation deck on the 89th floor, it was raining below.  We still got some photos, which I will post, but I'm sure the vista would have been much more stunning without the rain! 

Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world from 2004-2010.  To the tip of the needle at the top it is 1610 feet tall.  The basement floor is filled with a large food court and some shops, while floors 1-4 contain some very prestigious stores like Tiffany's and Coco Chanel (no shopping there for us!).  You catch the elevator to the 89th floor on the 5th floor.  It takes 45 seconds to get there--amazing!--and once you reach the observation floor, you can observe the entire city all the way around you.  The mountains in the distance are just breathtaking!  Taiwan is truly a beautiful island.

A street view of Taipei 101 as we walked towards it.

 
Looking up from one of the bottom floors of the mall

One view from the observatory


This is the counterbalance...check out the cables!

By the time we finished observing, we were feeling a bit tired and hungry.  We decided to hop a cab to the Din Tai Fung restaurant since it was still raining.  We weren't quite sure how to hail a taxi in Taiwan, but waving your hand and yelling taxi did the trick!  Dave always climbs into the front seat--which I'm not sure is kosher, but he does it anyway--so the drivers always have to throw the seat way back in order for his large frame to fit.  This taxi driver was a hoot.  He didn't speak much English but he communicated his family history and the history of Korea and China and Taiwan to us via hand motions and doodles on his notepad, all while driving through rush hour traffic!  I may have to take back my thoughts about the driving here after that ride!  He used his horn well and we made it in one piece, thankfully.  I'm sure we made his day!

Din Tai Fung is a world-renown chain known for its dumplings and stuffed buns.  We had been forewarned about how you ordered at this restaurant, but what we weren't aware of was the size of their helpings!  We were pretty hungry, so everything looked good, and I think we ordered too much, to the humorous delight of the young couple sitting next to us!  To order, you look at the menu to decide what you want, and then you fill out this order form with how many of each menu item you want.  As the items are prepared, they bring them out to you, so your food comes in shifts.  Dave LOVES Chinese dumplings and stuffed buns, and these were outstanding!  The prices were very reasonable, and we are planning on going back again.  I'll take some photos next time!

After dining we attempted to find our way back to a subway station.  I think we took a wrong turn and missed the closer station, but along the way I found a cool little stationery store and bought a couple of things.  (Tiffany, if you are reading this, tell Amy Grace I have a neat Hello Kitty item for her!)  We eventually found a station and made our way back to our hotel.  The rain had stopped by now, but the humidity was quite oppressive.  We exited the station near our hotel at a different exit than where we had entered, so we were a bit turned around at first, but with our handy map we made it back in one piece.  The corner 7-Eleven was our last stop for an ice cream bar, and then we basically collapsed into bed.

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This afternoon we are heading out again to see what we can see.  Stay tuned...and one more thing...the humorous event of the day yesterday was when we were getting on an elevator in Taipei 101 and the door closed on me.  Now it was a little startling to me, but the 10 year old kid on the elevator thought it was hilarious!  His mom tried to shush him, but then gave up and told him to say "Hello" instead.  Glad we could be the comedy relief!!

Another day closer to meeting Sophia...

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1 comment:

stephanie garcia said...

It was great talking to you! Sorry we got cut off. I stayed awake to read your post about your adventures. Now off to bed!! :)