Taiwan Day Three: Taipei 101, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, and Pinglin.

I woke up pretty early on Sunday morning ready for my final full day of sightseeing in Taipei.  The only thing I wanted to make sure I did was go up in the famous Taipei 101 building.  I got there right after they started letting people go up, so I didn’t have to wait too long.  This building was the world’s tallest from 2004 until 2010.  The observatory is located on the 89th floor, and the elevator there was insanely fast.   It took about 37 seconds!

It was an amazing clear day, so I got really lucky that the visibility was so good.  I walked around for awhile taking pictures and admiring the view.  I decided to be touristy and mail a postcard from the mail area they had set up.  While I was there, a guy started asking me questions.  We got to talking for awhile, and he told me he was on a business trip from China and had one day to tour Taipei.  We ended up exploring the rest of the observatory together (seeing the famous wind damper, and the outdoor observatory) before heading back down.  I was telling him a lot about different foods I’d eaten while in Taipei.  I showed him the soup dumplings and talked about how delicious they were.  He told me that they were not dumplings, and he’d show me what real dumplings were.  I knew already, but in English we don’t have a different word for every type of dumpling so usually we just say “dumpling”.  I tried to explain, but he quickly rushed me over to a little restaurant he’d found a few days before.  He ordered some soup with tofu, egg, and vegetables.  It was really good, and the fresh cilantro on top was so refreshing.  The dumplings were also really good!

I was supposed to meet up with Miguel again for a drive out into the country, but I hadn’t heard from him so instead of waiting around I dragged my new friend, Thinson,  to another site nearby.  I’d seen the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall from the observatory in Taipei 101, and I really wanted to see it up close.  We walked around for awhile, toured the museum, and watched the changing of the guard.  It was a really elaborate ceremony that took about 20 minutes and attracted a huge crowd of spectators.  I was glad we got there just in time to see it!

By the time we finished touring the hall it was around 4 o’clock, so I wanted to head back to my hostel to relax for awhile before meeting Miguel.  Thinson came back with me because he wanted to see what the place was like.  He didn’t know what a hostel was, and was interested in staying there on his next visit so he could meet some new foreigner friends.  I showed him around, and he really liked it.  We exchanged info and said we’d keep in touch.  He lives in Chengdu, China which is the famous panda area so I definitely want to go there someday. 

I ended up not having much time to relax at the hostel before I had to rush to the other side of the city to meet Miguel.  He drove me a little outside the city to a small mountain town called Pinglin, which is very famous for tea.  It was starting to get dark when we arrived, but we had just enough time to see a little of the town’s beauty and try some tea.  The cold green tea and green tea mochi were the perfect refreshment after a long day!

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