Taiwan and Japan - Day 2

Unlimited Tea and Data

I was very impressed with the eagerness everyone showed getting up this morning after a very long and tiring day travelling to Taiwan yesterday. Everyone was up packed and ready to start the day on time. We decided to get 3 things sorted before we journey off into the great unknown of Taipei. The first thing was to get breakfast. We decided to explore the streets of Ximending to try and find something. We passed many shops but then came across a street cart vendor. We watched him for a bit then Anthony went over to ask what they were. The guy who spoke no English pointed to bacon and eggs and before I know it we were all getting these for breakfast.

The vendor was amazing to watch, he pulled out some bacon and started cooking it and then pulled out this dough type of thing. The squashed the dough under a machine and then put it on top of the back to cook. Eggs were then cooked and added as well. We all grabbed our breakfast and started eating and at once we all thanked Anthony for going with this as it was the yummiest thing we have tasted. We stood around and ate then Rob and I went to try some different Tea from 7/11. The thing i love most abut Asian countries is the variety in tea you can buy from convenience shops. I wish Australia would import some of these.

After eating our fill we strided out to find SIM cards that would allow us to use data. The hotel recommended a place down the road so we headed there to enquire. The man was super helpful and although it took a while we all ended up with a SIM card and unlimited data for 7 days. It cost $35 Australia for unlimited data so i think that is OK. Even though a fair chunk of our morning was taken up we quickly found an ATM and continued walking to our first point of call.

We headed through a small park which was called the Taipei peace park. The peace park was built to remember the 30000 people that died during an uprising in 1946 when the government massacred civilians.Even though it is to remember a dark past it was a really cool and pretty park. We played around near the lake and bridge for a while and then headed further in. We found a reflexology walk which is meant to help your health. We took our shoes off and attempted to walk on this but it was so so so painful. The only one of us that could do it was Chris. Located in the back of the park was an adult gym/playground. We mucked around on this for a while and then decided we should probably head to the memorial park.

I can not explain how beautiful Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is. The entrance is through the largest and most amazing gate i have seen the pictures or words can not explain how truly magnificent it is, just the sheer size of it is amazing in itself. We took pictures then asked some tourists to take a group shot for us. The funniest thing was you could see them trying to figure out what your say in English to smile. (e.g Cheese) So the decided to say 1 , 2, 3 Kim chi. We were laughing so much. Anthony paid back the favour taking their photo and told them to say 1,2,3 Meat Pies. After having a good laugh with them we headed through the gate to the rest of the square.

The square of Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial Hall includes the beautiful National Theatre Hall and the National concert Hall as well as of course Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. All three of these building are enormous and amazing to look at. The memorial was built in honour of Chaing Kai-Shek who was a famous president of Taiwan. There are 89 stairs leading up to the hall and this is significant because there is one stair for every year he was alive. We headed to the top to see the statue of him and arrived just in time to watch the changing of the guard.

In time and with perfect movement the guards performed an elaborate ceremony to swap places. 2 guards are on duty at all times and the must stand perfectly still for the hour they are on duty. The ceremony for swapping guards was amazing to see and the dedication to the job is amazing. The perform the same ceremony with the gun swinging, saluting and stomping every hour. Such dedication. After exploring the rest of the hall we decided to head to Taipei 101.

We grabbed an easy card (Train pass) and headed to get some lunch at Taipei 101. The food here was fancy but still really cheap. Anthony and I got chicken noodle while the rest of the boys wanted to get squid. It was very nice and very cheap. We then got tickets to Taipei 101 and were told we had to line up at 5:30 to get in. To make this story short we spend a lot of time in lines and got to see Taipei at night. Chris got a bottle of water which looked like Taipei 101 which was cool. We lined up for ages to come down again and then went to the train to go to Shilin Market.

The market was a bustling place. Food stores were everywhere and we sampled a variety of the wares. We explored the shop but did not buy anything and played some games. There were so many people at the market and it was amazing to see.

It had been such a long day so we headed back to the hotel got some food and rested for the night. What a great first day in Taiwan.