Funnily enough guys, China and Taiwan are not the same ‘thing’. They are not the same country. They are not the same place.
Something I hear all of the time when I explain my background is that China and Taiwan are the same thing, the same place, or ‘the same sort of place’ and in all honestly, it makes me a little annoyed. Especially when these words come from intelligent, educated people who should know better.
This is not to spark a China-Taiwan debate, nor will I get into any debates about the never-ending China-Taiwan issues. This is merely a short post to express my disappointment in people who group these countries together without even thinking about what they are actually saying.
Imagine if I went around saying “Spain? Portugal? Whatever, they’re the same country!” or, “Brazil? They speak Portuguese, they must be from the same place!”.
Last night was one of the most solid sleeps I’ve had in 13 days since arriving in Taipei. Five and a half hours of solid, peaceful sleep. Only to be jolted awake with stabbing pains in my stomach, but hey ho! This is the life of (suspected) endo! Anyway, this is not about my pains and what-nots today. This is a positive, happy, vibe-y post about how much I love my life at the moment. Read along!
How should you spend a day in Taipei? Well, I started my day by talking to my favourite person, just as he was going to bed on the other side of the world, and headed off to uni with my sister as she returned her graduation gown and hat – exciting times ahead for the newly graduated!
We wanted to grab smoothies from a place called Vegg Out, on ShiDa road, but when we arrived it was completely packed and the queue was to the door.
Instead, I took my sister to Ooh Cha Cha, one of the coolest cafes I’ve ever been to, and totally vegan! Located on NanChang Road, just a few minutes walk from Guting MRT station, this small cafe serves plant-based meals from Chickpea Smash on Sourdough, to a range of burgers to salad and hummus bowls. They are absolutely delicious and go perfectly with any of the yummy smoothies they make too, my favourite being the Acai Twist!
From here my sister and I walked around the corner to catch the 278 bus towards the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, in XinYi district (only a 20 minute walk to Taipei 101), and on our way there we stopped at ICE MONSTER for mini ice lollies that cost us NT$30 each.
They were actually pretty cute and in 36°C and 87% humidity, we needed that cool-down to keep us going! We also had a quick pit-stop at the Hello Kitty shop where we snacked on typical Taiwanese pineapple cakes, and mini waffles!
The park has some beautiful, quaint little cafes and temple-style shelters scattered around, vending machines and rubbish bins, making it a lovely place to visit as it’s peaceful and extremely clean.
The Eslite building is fantastic and absolutely not to be missed. With four floors of souvenirs, handmade gifts, stationery, teas, candles, clothing and so much more! You must spend some time here. One of my favourite discoveries of my holiday was made here today.
A pop-up shop of Cafe Solé serving pour over coffee from Taiwan’s A Li mountain (阿里山) – for NT$130 not only did I receive nearly two cups of coffee, but I watched this amazing barista grind the beans and filter the coffee in front of me, letting me smell the coffee throughout the stages. For a coffee obsessor like me, it was wonderful! And delicious coffee as well.
After an hour or so of wandering through the individual stalls, we began walking to Taipei 101, stopping st various points along the way to take silly photos, or in most cases, stop at the dreaded traffic lights!
We ended up at Street Churros, which considering how many issues I have with my stomach, I definitely should not have eaten, they were absolutely amazing! Hot churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce… is there anything better?!
Followed by a little wander through ATT4Fun mall and looked at all the clothes, trying them on, then putting them back as we certainly couldn’t afford them.
As my feet blistered and head throbbed from lack of water today, we made our way home on the MRT. (Taking a few photo booth snapshots before we left)
Oh my god. That cold shower was the best welcome home after being on my feet for 9 hours, and I spent the evening eating rice cakes and watching Shanghai Noon with my little sister.
Feeling very grateful for having such a wonderful, positive day.
Oh the joys of growing up in Taipei and having a night market like this as your weekend hang out.
However, before I continue I would like to point out the biggest difference about this place… NO MORE PHOTO BOOTHS. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Those out-of-this-world, state of the art, Japanese photobooths which for NT$200 you would get about an hours worth of photo taking, picture decorating time and having sticker-photo keepsakes forever. It’s true, they no longer exist. Talk about devastating.
Fortunately, for those of you who don’t remember, or never experienced such excitement, Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) is buzzing with locals and the occasional foreigner from about 5pm through to the early hours of the morning. During the week it’ll be 11/12, on the weekends places stay open until around 1am.You’ll find quirky fashion items, millions of phone cases, socks, earrings, handbags, silly claw machines, balloon-bursting games and local, authentic street stalls!
You can take the Red line MRT and either walk down from ShiLin station, or get off at JianTian, which leads you into the very heart of the market.
It gets busy! Go with the flow, be prepared for the occasional scooter and if you see the food sellers move promptly, the police are probably on the way and you need to be careful, in case you get barged into during the frantic dispersal!
It’s a great place to spend the evening and a must-see when in Taipei!
Since the evening that I arrived in Taipei, four days ago, the 101 has been completed engulfed in clouds and rain, making it invisible from a distance.
As the clouds finally began to break this morning, and I found myself walking alongside the beautiful Da’An park I suddenly saw, from a great distance, and down the middle of the dual carriageway, the 101 in between a collection of buildings.
There she was. Clear as day, staring at me down the middle of the roads. And what a wonderful feeling that was too, to see one of the most outstanding buildings in the world right in front of me.