Wanderlust Taiwan- Night and Day

It has been two weeks since I arrived in Taipei, Taiwan.  This is the half way mark where I stop being hungry. I look at a sea of food options and no longer feel the zeal for them.View from my balcony Taipei 101 seen from a neighborhood street Can you imagine leaving all your shoes outside your apartment for all to see and smell? At Taoyuan International Airport for the sunsetTai Chi for morning exercise. Matching pink shirts and black pants in 90 degrees weather. Another morning exercise ritual  This is my compadre in running.  See how she is dressed from head to toe.  She even has a mask on for the morning walk. Given the modern feel in Taipei, sometimes I forget how traditional Taiwan can be.   

It’s a gray world we live in.

Für Elise by Beethoven- Played by Garbage Trucks in Taiwan

Taiwan has class. The garbage trucks play Für Elise composed by Beethoven every night when they pick up the trash. The trash collection is very different in Taiwan. There is no curb side pick up. There are no dumpsters. You bring your trash to the truck when you hear the music. You line up at the designated collection point in your area. You bring trash, sorted into regular trash, recycled items, and compost.

It always happens at night.
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Here is the sorting of a building recycled items while the truck is there.

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Area residents bringing their recycled items to the truck to be compressed.

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Here are the composting bins. You bring your kitchen scraps and any organic compost and dump them into the appropriate bins. It looked a little messy and liquidy to me. Gloves please.

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It was weird to be snapping photos while people were taking care of their trash. People line up to take turns with the various trucks.  It was a very orderly and quiet business, conducted under the dim street lights as you can see from the photo, while listening to classical music.

What do you think of this process? I am not a fan of hauling my trash out at 8:30pm at night but am impressed by the composting offering and the classical music the trucks play. It gives a whole new meaning to Beethoven’s romanticism. 🙂

National Taipei University of Education, 國立台北教育大學

I have been back to the US (my home) since August 18th and frankly the reverse homesickness has set in. Here is where I spent an enormous amount of time this summer.

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Day time view of the campus
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Night time view of the campus

台北教育大學 www.ntue.edu.tw

106, Taiwan, Taipei City, Daan District, 和平東路二段134號
+886 2 2732 1104

 

Happy Meal at Kyomomoyama 京桃山, Miramar Mall Taipei

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This is what I considered as a complete happy meal: fresh sushi, rice, miso soup, tea and a quiet and air-conditioned seat in a restaurant. Food quality was acceptable. This happened to take place on the food court floor of the Miramar Entertainment Park.

Miramar Mall
No. 20, Jing Ye 3rd Road
DaZhi, Taipei

A Civilized Experience at the Westin Hotel Taipei

Have I complained how hot it is in Taiwan yet?  Averages in the high 90s in July and August, with high humidity and a possibility of thunderstorm most days.  The sun is bright and always on top of you. In the first few days, I was a sun seeker: tank top, short shorts, just taking in the glorious warmth.  Soon after, the parasol or the “sunbrella” quickly opens up as the first ray of sun hits my shoulders.  Coupled the sun with walking being the primary mode of transportation, I am constantly seeking a nicely furnished place to duck in that has a strong AC and without mosquitos.  That’s why the experience at the Westin Hotel the other day felt so civilized.

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This is the tower of desserts. They may look beautiful and up to par for being tasty desserts. But my verdict is that they are better looking than tasting.

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The tower of desserts were served to us while we sat in this cushioned, fluffy big sofa while looking out to a Japanese garden with a waterfall feature and a pond while AC strongly blasting cold air at us. Just superb!

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Who can resist a heart-felt hot chocolate?

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For those who are hungry, this is the most tasty sandwich in a civilized afternoon tea setting in the city of Taipei.

I live like the locals when I am in Taiwan.  I go to small noodle stands without AC, sit by the side of the road.  I go to small restaurants that has not updated their decor since they first opened and with their AC cover on the floor.   I go to the nigh market and farmer’s market and eat things on a stick and out of plastic bags. These are fresh, delicious and extremely yummy food at an incredible price.  But they lack ambience and the comfort that I am used to in the States.

I also walk everywhere in Taipei and that means sweating and soaking through whatever I am wearing during all the walks.  It was a nice change of scenario to be  in the Westin for a slow afternoon, enjoying the beauty of the dessert and the AC.

I highly recommend the Elite Concept Cafe at the Westin Hotel Taipei, especially if you go with a friend who is a member of the Westin Hotel and has a discount card where the entire afternoon spent with eight middle school friends turned out to be only a little more than $10 per person.

This experience took place at the

Elite Concept Café

THE WESTIN TAIPEI

133 Nanjing East Road, Section 3

Taipei,104 Taiwan

Map

Phone: (886)(2) 8770 6565

The Essential Skills for Food Court Eating in Taiwan

Taiwan is hot. Although there are many cheap places for food, most likely eating in those stores/stands are not as comfortable (think not AC’ed enough) as eating in an upscale mall, airport, tourist attraction sites, or the movie theaters. Therefore, it’s essential to figure out what to eat when presented with numerous choices, each seems better than the last, while fighting against the crowd to get to your preferred option.

Here is what I do.

First, I assess the mall and figure out its clientele. Usually, if the mall caters to international travelers, the price point is higher and the food is not necessarily better. If the mall caters to the local population, the food may be great but it will be hell to find a spot to sit.

Second, I queue at the store that sells more authentic Taiwanese food and has the longest line of customers. When the line is long, the food is usually good.

Third, I avoid any Western cuisines. They tend to be horrible for someone who lives in the US because they are Asianized. Somehow the taste is changed to suit the Asian palates.

Lastly, be decisive. Once you take a quick survey of the food court, it’s time to queue at a store while you send your friends to find a spot to sit. The food in general will be good, if not pretty good, if you follow my advice.

Here is one successful outing at The Mall, located at No. 203, Sec. 2, Dunhua S. Rd., Taipei. The Mall caters to the international crowd but the food was very decent and the ambience refreshing and pleasant.

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Pot stickers, 黃金鍋貼

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Breaded, fried pork chops with noodles, 排骨細麵

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Pickled vegetable with pork noodles, 榨菜肉絲麵

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Beef noodle soup with hand cut noodles, 清燉牛肉麵

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Here are the menu and prices for 朱記

Bon Appétit! May your tummy be filled with yummy food.

Random Pictures of Taipei 2

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Sunset seen from the Ferris wheels on top of the Marimar Mall, 美麗華百樂園

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View from the Ferris wheels with Taipei 101 in the background

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View from the Ferris wheels, clearly showing the surrounding mountains

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Helicopters on the ground of Songshan Airport, 松山機場

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Food truck selling peaches in the east commercial area, touting that he planted these organic peaches himself.

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Food truck selling roasted duck at the corner of my building, half a duck for $170NT or approximately $5.7US. See that big metal tube? The interesting fact is that he roasts them right in the truck.

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Awkward English: Professional sponge for seniors, better use a thicker one?

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Let us be your primate?

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You are not in Asia if you don’t see rows upon rows of scooters

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Korean celebrities are everywhere in Taiwan as are their electronics