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Celebrated the Year of the Rabbit in Taiwan!

TAIWAN | Friday, 11 February 2011 | Views [464]

It's time for my first dispatch. After a fifteen hour flight out of LAX, I arrived in Taipei, Taiwan last week to meet my Korean friend Lisa for Chinese New Years. Upon arrival, I found a bus that took me into Taipei city, where I walked around for about 20 minutes before finding the hostel. After finding Lisa and dropping off my bag, we walked around the city for a few hours. We had an amazing lunch where I sampled some Chinese beef wraps, hot soup, and vegetables before heading back to the hostel for a nap. Later that afternoon, Lisa's boyfriend Brian arrived from the Philippines and after we all geared up again, we invited a Korean girl staying in the hostel to come along with us to check out Taipei 101. Taipei 101 was very impressive in person and the views from the top were breath taking. It's amazing to think of what humans have achieved as far as architecture is concerned, seems like we'll have buildings to the sky in no time! After Taipei 101, we took the subway to the famous Shilin Night Market. There we sampled tons of delicious food including beef spinal meat, noodles, spicy Chinese chicken, and of course we had to have boba teas. At the market we hooked up with our new Korean friend Ji's friend and he hung out with us for a few hours explaining all of the different foods and shops. After a rather exhausting first day in Taipei, I was more than happy to head back to the hostel for a good kip and was ready for action by morning.
The following morning we headed straight to the High Speed Rail staion where we caught the day down to the southern city of Kaohsiung. There we hooked up with Lisa's Taiwanese/New Zealander friend Fiona who was the hostess with the mostess! She picked us up from the staion with her friend Mina and we immediately headed to the beach for a delicious lunch that was matched by an even more amazing view. After the beach, we headed into town a bit to check out the Art Walk part of town where there were several museums, art installments, and exhibits. We took a break from walking to chow down on some amazing ice creams that were as big as our head and by evening, it was time to track down our hostel. After dropping our bags once more, we all loaded back into the car and went to a dumpling restaurant close to Fiona's home where we feasted on dumplings, beef/pork wraps, and a type of boiling fish soup. At this juncture, my jet lag was kicking in and I could barely stay away on the drive to Fiona's aunt's home. There, we were overwhelmed with more snacks and teas while chatting away to Fiona's family who were all in town for Chinese New Years. By eleven, everyone was ready to hit the pub where I barely was able to keep my eyes open until they were ready for bed. Unfortunately, I was in a seperate room from the others and when I got in had to find my way to my top bunk bed in the dark but was finally able to konk out for the night.
The next morning, we met up with Fiona at the subway station where we walked to a local shopping mall for a Japanese lunch. After lunch, Fiona's friend Jack came to meet us for coffee as well as a walk around the local street market. We walked around for an hour or so before we decided to take a taxi to Love River. Love River is a beautiful spot in the middle of Kaohsiung and once there, we bought tickets for a small ferry that took us around but being that the tour was in Mandarin, we were mostly just cracking jokes and taking pictures since we weren't able to get much info out of the tour guide. From there, we walked around the river until we ran into Fiona's parents who were so lovely and her Mom offered to drive us to the High Speed Station as we had to catch the train back to Taipei that night. Back in Taipei, our short sojourn in Taiwan was coming to an end and I ended up staying in that night and chatting to different people in the hostel as I had to be up by six the next morning to catch a bus to the airport.
After waking up, packing, and bidding farewell to Lisa and Brian, I made my way to the bus station only to find out that there weren't any buses running to the airport that early in the morning. I considered taking a taxi, but being on a backpacking budget, I just wouldn't give in. I kept looking around until I saw a bus bound for the airport. It ended up being a packaged tour bus for a group of Japanese business men who had come to Taiwan to golf. After much persuasion and the flashing of $5 USD, I was let on the bus and was delighted to make it to the airport just in time. After running through security, I caught the China Airlines flight to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia where I am currently staying with my Uncle and his family. The weather is lovely and warm here, however a bit too humid for my taste. The food and people are as beautiful as I remember and I am having a lovely time just tooling around town and trying all of the different cusine. That's all the news I have at the moment but I'll be sure to check back in after I've decided what my travel plans are as far as going out to Lombok, Gilis, Komodo, and Flores Island. I'm thinking of going out to Flores to do a dive course so that I will be PADI certified and will be able to dive anywhere in the future. Hope everyone reading this is well and sound and thank you for the encouraging emails!



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