Taipei – Day 27, April 20

I attended an awesome cooking school this morning. We learned to make beef noodle soup, boba milk tea, and xiao long bao, Taiwanese soup dumplings. Wanna guess where the people were from? Orange County, CA, and Fairfax, Virginia. Also, London so that didn’t count as people who were from somewhere I’m connected to, but still. The coincidence is interesting. In the photo of me holding the boba milk tea, you may be interested or grossed out to see the weird shape of my left hand after it has healed from the distal radial fracture on 12/26/2022.

After the class, I took a taxi to National Palace Museum. This was the last must-see in Taipei. It was amazing. What I saw was a small part of the treasure trove that Chiang Kai-shek rescued from mainland China. Another way to say it is looted. But given that the communists in China have since destroyed a huge quantity of art in China, I’m going with the euphemistic “rescued” art.

Prior to Taipei 101, the main bit of architecture that people associated Taipei with was the Grand Hotel so I took a taxi to The Grand Hotel and had a look around. It was a bit dated, but really interesting and indeed, grand. It was like an Asian version of the Hotel del Coronado.

I was tired from the class and early morning so I took a taxi back to my hotel. Normally, I was taking the subway around like a boss here, but these places I went to today aren’t near subway stops. Google Maps suggested three buses. My taxi rides at $4 a piece is more than reasonable for a trip out to the Hinterlands.

After a rest in my room, I walked to nearby Ximen where without a specific place to be I was finally able to see this lively area as more fun and less hectic. I saw the rescue squad there tending to a young woman who had been hit by a scooter in the supposedly strictly pedestrian area. I tried a fresh boba and decided it was absolutely delicious. Boba is tapioca balls mixed with tea, milk, and brown sugar. This place made their own boba by hand.

While still wandering around, I went out to Longsham Temple again, this time bowing and saying a prayer to all the little Tao gods that Vita had explained about. I watched people dropping little pieces of wood shaped like apple slices and noticing the way they landed. I think it’s a fortune thing but I don’t really get it. Then I visited a little nearby night market. Guess what? I didn’t like this one any better and I am absolutely sure I’m not eating anything from one of them. See the last picture below of a lady chopping up chicken on the dirty street with no refrigeration. I saw someone preparing cilantro on the ground, which presumably would go into food uncooked.