Monday, January 30, 2012

Taipei 2

Pro tip: don't eat on the metro. Or drink. Or smoke. Or spit. Or tap dance. These people are REALLY into giving tickets for, like, anything. So, unless you'd be into signing a Mandrin-only slip of paper while juggling takeout sushi and international mortification, don't eat on the metro.
I CAN'T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO WRITE ABOUT THE PALACE FUCKING MUSEUM. This monster is four floors and a few millenia worth of Chinese history. Neat stuff, but, seriously, wear comfortable shoes. The main attraction: a jade cabbage. Let that one sink in for a sec. Racially insensitive tidbit of the trip: Asian people absolutely lose their shit over anything made out of jade.

And it wouldn't be Asia if there weren't markets.
Markets! Markets everywhere!

Also, getting back to the airport is pretty easy too. There's a bus. So we took this bus, then we waited in line to get to the check in counter, nothing out of the ordinary, made small talk with some expats. We got to the front, I opened my wallet to get out my passport. "Oh, what's this?" I thought to myself, "Where did that silly little passport place itself at such an inconvenient time? It really needs to learn proper manners, I dare say!" Hah! No, no, it was really more like, "Holy dicksacks! What the fuck do I do now?!?! I know! Let me throw the contents of my suitcase all over the airport! Perfect, wasn't there! I'll just call the hotel! Don't have it, you say? Fantastic, thanks! Shit shit shit! SHIT!" Then miraculously, between thoughts of finding a new flight and hoping the embassy would still be open so late, a tiny little memory popped up through my brain folds and was like, "Hey stupid, you may or may not have put it in your camera bag. Find out." Success! It was like those scenes in movies where a beam light comes down from the heavens and a choir of angels start singing a hymn. Note to self: be more careful with that shit.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Regrets and Taiwan

My biggest regret in life is not having taken more pictures. Sure, there are other things I wish I had done differently, dating, for example, or my finances, or that one time I got completely wasted and accidentally destroyed a hotel room - the usual regrets any 20something faces in this day and age. But there are no pictures! Four years of university. Poof! Gone. Traveling around Europe. Whoosh! In the past. Birthdays, weddings, Christmases. Biff! Bam! Pow! Holy memories, Batman!

Maybe it was the desire to rectify my photo-less existence that lead me to purchase a DSLR camera. Somehow, in a flurry of misguided zeal and an allergic reaction to having money in the bank, I decided that spending hundreds of dollars on something I knew nothing about would be the ideal situation to find myself in. And since I made such an industrious investment, friends, I have started a blog for you all to be dazzled by my sharp wit and artistic abilities. So, here we are.

Ahh, Chinese New Year in the Republic of China. The good China. The non-Commie, don't-owe-trillions-of-dollars-in-US-debt China.

We landed in Taipei around noon on Saturday. And spent the rest of the afternoon checking out some temples and probably (definitely) offending temple-goers with our ignorant Western behavior. Certainly got yelled at by these nuns for taking their picture.

PS. Mad props to military dictators for forcing the construction of super impressive memorial halls.

So, in Taipei, the three things that you mustmustMUST do are:

Watch the changing of the guard at the Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The zoo. Which sounds totes lame BUT PANDAS!!

Also, the cable cars from the zoo are pretty rad.

Aaaand Taipei 101. Duh.

Other things: The metro was super easy to use and you can buy a multi day pass. The food and attractions were pretty cheap. Total spend including flight and hotel: around 1000 USD. The city seemed relatively safe. It rained, but you can't control the weather. I'd definitely recommend going if you like sightseeing and cultural experiences, but not if you're into laying on the beach or adventure holidays. It's pretty well situated on the beaten path, but interesting nonetheless. I might update this blog thing sometime with recaps of other countries or trips around Korea. Soon, my pretties, soon.