Started the day with an early lunch
It was kind of neat, they have a bunch of dishes out and you grab what you want and pay by the weight. After hanging out at home for a bit, my uncle dropped me off at wu fen pu, a fashion/shopping market. It’s changed quite a bit since I last went. The stores are like small boutiques instead of outlets and more expensive than before. Lots of cool new styles but not very cheap. My cousin joined me later in the day! We shopped some more and then moved on to Raohe Night Market for dinner! They’re famous for their pepper cakes:
Got papaya milk and then taro shaved ice 🙂
My cousin baked a fresh mango cake for me! It was so sweet of her and really delicious!! Got knocked around while shopping though.
On the way home, I got kind of mixed up at the MRT (Mass rapid transit, which is like our BART). They have many rails at each station and it’s a hassle if you miss your stop. There’s two sets of rails on each side, so you have to take an escalator up and then go around to the other side to board a train going in the other direction. Makes me appreciate the simplicity of BART.
Brought some of these babies home :3
Early the next day, I arrived at TaoYuan airport and boarded the plane home. It was such an experience to have a window seat and be able to see the ascending. It still seems crazy that a huge metal mass can fly so high.
This trip was a blast and I think we’ll return next year, maybe for a longer time period too!
Woke up early to visit the grandfather’s grave in 金寶山. My cousins found this thing and we’re playing with it.
Caught up with cousins/nieces, aunts and uncles– some I haven’t seen in a decade! One of my uncles took me to a grilled corn stand on the way to lunch and it was really good :3 They first cover it in these black rocks in an oven and let it cook, then grill it and coat it in sauce.
Also celebrated my adorable niece’s first birthday!
After lunch and hanging out at my step grandmother’s posh apartment, we spent the rest of the day at Taipei station’s underground mall! Bought a skirt and got stinky tofu again 🙂
Ended the day with popcorn chicken from a local stand. One more day left!
Started the day off at a morning street market, which mainly sells produce, fruits, and meat. Got some noodles for breakfast 😊
It was really ridiculously hot so after we went home we took a break and cooled off. I got bored quickly so I went to a hair salon and got my hair washed. My uncle took me on his motorcycle :):) My aunt and mom took another bike and joined me. We all got foot massages afterwards! The masseuses thought I was 16 lol but they were nice and we chatted the whole time. They work 10 hours a day massaging…pretty tough.
We then went to a good court in a mall to get lunch. Got some mediocre teppanyaki but really good papaya milk and then sugar can juice and then taro milk shaved ice afterwards 😀
Then we hung out at another aunt’s house all afternoon to play with my niece. I took a nap too 😄 We got dinner at 牛肉城, which we always go to when we come back. Reservations are now required, though. It was reaaallllyy good, as expected. Exotic taiwanese dishes. I tried some shark skin and snail I think (sorry shark) Snail meat is kind of tough aha. Their fried 牛蒡 or “great burdock”, a root, was insanely good. We ordered two! Of course there was also fresh bamboo with taiwanese mayonnaise (which is sweet) and taiwanese beer! yum
We ended the the night with more shaved ice and very full stomachs. Later, my cousins taught me how to make rubber band bracelets with the looms and everything!
After a last lunch with grandparents, we took a 2 hour ride on the taiwan rail from kaohsiung to taipei. Slept the whole way! Had some time to kill before getting picked up by my aunt and dining together, so we went back to ximending :):) Bought some random stuff and got some pre-dinner snacks! (popcorn chicken from 1973, matcha ice cream)
The place we were trying to eat at was full and requires reservations now so we ended up getting zongzi and pig intestine soup hah. It was way too hot for soup so I got a papaya milkshake right after :3
After dinner, we took a walk through a small night market nearby. I actually didnt buy anything…it was mostly food anyway and I was stuffed. My cousins and brother played at some game stands and won stuffed animals. We got shaved ice before leaving for home. I finished a milk snow ice all by myself! Was too full as I am every other night here.. In my defense, because I don’t get to spend a lot of time here, I should eat one of everything when I get the chance! 😉
Hung out at home most of the day. My parent’s friend came over and I made everyone banana pancakes! Had to go to the store to get butter though. It’s weird, people here stare at you when you speak english..
Afterwards, my aunt wanted to take us on a short tour of Kaohsiung’s tourist spots. We visited the library– super new, air-conditioned, and modern with quite a view upstairs. We saw this building (below) though didn’t see anything. It’s a nice building? I dont know what it’s for.
Then we took a walk in bo er 䭸二, where the iron and steel festival took place in 2014! There are some really cool sculptures & displays, and murals! I would go back but maybe after sunset. Kaohsiung is really hot in the summer.
Went to see all of Kaohsiung from the top of a hill (zhong ye ci). It was so pretty!!! Never realized the city was that big and guilt tripped me to not doing more research and finding more places to visit. There are so many beautiful skyscrapers!
Ended the last night here with a fancy dinner at the Ambassador Hotel. Dim sum! Was pretty good, too hungry and busy eating to take pictures
Haven’t done too much to take pictures of here, mainly avoiding the heat and spending time with relatives.
Day 8: went to my first night market in 6 years!!! Rui Fong Night Market in KaoHsiung. It was so hot and I only got about an hour….we spent most of the time eating: stinky tofu, milk tea, bbq shrimp, taiwanese sausages, baked cheese roll, and papaya milk! All th e food stands are so cheap! A dolla for a milk tea. Didn’t really buy anything (surprisingly). I have been doing some market research and know where to get certain things cheaper 😀
- Earlier in the day, my 86 year old gramps took me on his moped to see his eye doctor! I was hesitant but he was a really good driver. (I had a corneal infection from rubbing my eye with contacts in last week and had to follow up). Corneal infections are not fun and can ruin your vision 😦 Luckily mine was pretty minor. More on this later!
- Lets see… I did some house work and stopped at 7-11 briefly! The milk here is really good too so I got a lot of that :3 and THESE CHIPS. They are so yummy.
- Today, we all woke up early to go see my grandmother’s grave at the edge of KaoHsiung. On the way, we passed by a university built by a super rich person, who also built a theme park next to it. (A university + a bunch of roller coaster next to it is kind of an unforgettable sight. Felt like an asian hogwarts theme park. Said rich person also owns the whole city apparently.) We burned these paper things, which I’ve always disliked doing since they burn a huge stack of painted papers for each person and plumes of smoke are emitted from the furnace. BUT they recently installed a carbon capture and heat-to-energy generator to the roof of the furnace and that made me pretty happy 🙂 People finally getting their shit together.
- After we got back to the city, we got breakfast with the grandparents! Also got 3 mosquito bites in 10 minutes. Immediately applied my lemongrass repellent and after-bite. (Both are items to carry at all times here!) sigh I hate mosquito bites.
- It was early so we all headed to the hair salon to get massages and our hair washed. You can get both for less than $10!!
- Spent the rest of the day at Hansen’s shopping mall. Super upscale and expensive place with many foreign stores. We got dinner at this restaurant next to their hotel! Pretty fancy place with all real silver silverware, but pretty okay, in terms of price, compared to a meal in the States.
- After heading home and getting some errands done, my mom and brother and I went to check out a small night market (Shin Jue Jiang) down the street. They close at 10:30 though, boo. I didn’t get to go till late. Got some earrings and a shirt though! Also successfully haggled once tonight:D
- On the way home, we walked through Urban Spotlight, a park with many light displays. It was pretty neat!
Sorry, I did not take any photos today 😦
BUT here’s a short summary:
- Visited xi men ding, a very popular tourist/shopping spot in Taipei with streets of food stands and small shops. We went too early though, barely anything is open before noon but we still got to shop a little. Lots of walking and it was like 100 degrees. Definitely coming back when I return to Taipei! but at night. (http://taiwanexplorer.blogspot.tw/2011/04/ximending-taipei.html)
- After this, we had an appointment that lasted 3 hours…super boring until my cousin came to the rescue 😀 She took me shopping around the area while my parents were busy and I got a cute red dress for 390 NTD ($13) among a few other steals! Happy.
- Headed to Taipei train station and took the high speed rail to Kao Hsiung! Had a bento from the train station on the 2 hour train ride to southern Taiwan (no picture because I was too hungry but it was really good and pretty filling and only $3!!). Once we were there, we took a taxi to a restaurant where my dad’s side all showed up! Annoying taxi driver was complaining in Taiwanese for half the ride and was super sassy. After dinner, we went to my grandpa’s house for a bit to catch up and went to my aunt’s house, where we’re staying the next few days. Have never been more impressed by an apartment I’ve seen in Taiwan…so lucky to be staying here 😀