Taipei – Day 24, April 17

First thing in the morning, I went to the Main Taipei Train station to buy a train ticket for my travels here in Taiwan later in my trip. I ate a delicious Egg McMuffin mostly because they were the only place open in the train station that early.

I took the red line of the metro to visit the Chaing Kai-shek Memorial. I was blown away by the size, scale, and detail. I did not go in because it was hot and I’d already read about CKS on Wikipedia. You can do the same.

I went to Taipei 101 to shop and see the view from a very tall tower. Depending on what website I look at, it’s something like the tenth tallest tower in the world. Unlike Tokyo, I could see beyond the edges of Taipei, to the lush green trees and mountains. The shopping mall attached to the 101 Tower complex is super upscale with all the luxury brands. I was there twice yesterday, once for my tower visit and once for the later food tour, and though the massive food court in the basement was jammed with tourists, the luxury brand stores usually do not have a single customer in them. How do they afford these lavish retail fronts all over the world? Even with sky-high prices for their goods, I don’t see how it adds up.

I went back to my hotel to rest up and do laundry. CNN International in English on the TV in my room is a blessing. I’ve been listening to my news podcasts and music on my phone, but there’s no substitute for the noise of the TV in a solo hotel room.

Then at about five, I went to meet my tour, which was only me and another lady from The Philippines. We had the full set of dinner courses at Din Tai Fung. I’ve been to the restaurant in La Jolla and it is actually really delicious. Worth the hype. There were long lines but our guide had made us a reservation which meant we were seated about 30 minutes after I arrived. See the pictures of the workers in the kitchen making Xiao Long Bao soup dumplings. It’s the signature dish and they make them all day long.

Finally, we went to a beautiful temple all made from ceramics, and the Raohe Street night market. Ummmm…. it was super interesting, but I’m not sure I’m going to eat anything from a night market. I have to stay well here and I’m not sure the mostly fried food looks like a good idea to eat. Also, almost everything was meaty or fishy and there was little to no refrigeration. It’s hot here, even at night. Even if it looked good, I’d say it’s like eating food from the Del Mar Fair without the health and safety laws we enjoy.

Sorry for the duplicates on the pictures. My photo editing hit a snag then I uploaded them twice.