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Taipei Update

Let me start by saying that we were unaffected by the tsunami.  There was a warning here but nothing came of it besides some large waves.  I’m saddened by the events in Japan, but I’m thankful it’s not as bad as it could have been.

I’m having a good time in Taipei, and it feels like I’ve been here much longer than a week.  I know I will be more than happy to be back home eating some Huey’s and Chick-Fil-A by the end of this trip.

I’m extraordinarily fortunate to be writing this post from my hotel room with Taipei 101 literally towering over me.  It’s across the street and I can see it from my 18th floor room.  It’s quite a site.

I’ve consumed a lot of Chinese cuisine this week including dumplings, hot pot, and beef noodle.  The dumplings were by far my favorite with hot pot a close second.  My coworkers and I have used the weekend to eat some American chains like Macaroni Grill and Outback.  Both were delicious.

Saturday a coworker took us out to the Yehliu Geopark.  It was one of the most amazing  things I’ve ever seen.  The rock formations make you think you’re in another world.  When we returned to Taipei we explored the Jade Market.  They had some beautiful stuff but I was unable to determine what was real so I only bought some little wooden zodiac figures.  I busted out my negotiation skills and knocked 5 bucks off the total price.  In other words, I was taken to town by an elderly Taiwanese lady.  I paid twice as much as I wanted for them.

Today I went to the National Palace Museum and had an exceptional guided tour (in English of course).  If you ever have a chance to go make sure you sign-up for the free tour.  It adds a lot to the experience.  Sunday morning was crowed with Chinese tourists.  There were literally hundreds of them clustered in tour groups.  They moved through the museum in mass armed with headsets and following whichever flag belonged to their tour guide.

For lunch we came back to the Xinyi district.  Afterward I went off to explore a bookstore I had read about.  It’s the Eslite flagship store and it pretty much blew me away.  I was unaware that the first couple of floors would be a shopping mall filled with some of the coolest stuff ever.  The bookstore itself took up several floors and was a combination of Davis-Kidd and the MoMa Design Store in NYC.  I anticipate bankrupting myself there over the next couple of weeks.

During my explorations I stumbled across a large department store that had a MUJI in the basement.  I picked up several items including some slippers.  As I was checking out the clerk asked if I had checked the size.  Slightly offended I said “yes”, but that really meant “No, I just bought the largest size you have.”  Thankfully I’m Asian sized so I can buy clothes here.

In the weeks ahead I plan on adventuring out more to see some memorials and perhaps a temple or two.  Work should be great this week and I look forward to acquainting myself with more of the city.

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