Taiwan Travel 2015 [Day 5] – Kao Chi at Yongkang Street, As Good As Din Tai Fung


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If there is one thing that I regret, it would be my failure to explore Yongkang Street while in Taipei. I cannot believe that I was not able to find time for Taipei cuisine’s mecca and home to the original Din Tai Fung! Yongkang Street is where you can find restaurants and cafes during the day and market carts and independent sellers at night. It’s where you can find any type of food be it Chinese, Korean, American, Italian, Japanese, and others. Next time, I will definitely devote time for Yongkang Street in addition to Raohe Night Market, Wufenpu, and a hot springs resort. Next time, next time.

On our last day in Taipei, we decided to eat at Din Tai Fung but changed our hearts almost instantaneously when we saw the queue. The good thing is that right next door is its long overshadowed competitor that we discovered to concoct equally amazing dishes or maybe even better. I was told that locals impress tourists by bringing them to Din Tai Fung while locals impress fellow locals by going to this restaurant. The name, my friends, is Kao Chi.

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Taiwan Travel 2015 [Day 5] – Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

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In the morning of our last day in Taipei, we visited the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. It was built in memory of the first president of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. It’s a huge compound where people can walk leisurely and relax while watching other people who congregate in the area. The memorial hall though is, at least for me, not as grand as other memorial halls I’ve visited like Lincoln Memorial in D.C.

The hall has been the center of several debates in Taiwan. In the past, it was considered as a legacy of the past authoritarian regime and as such, there was a clamor to tear it down or to rename it. At one point, it was called the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Park. But in 2008, it was again reinstated to being called the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

Despite the debates and all that, it’s still a good place to visit if you are into culture and history, and moreso if you would like to witness the changing of the guards. Again though, the changing of the guards here is not as grand as the ones you can witness, for example, in Seoul.

More pics after the jump.

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Taipei Travel 2015 [Day 4] – Jiufen, Golden Waterfall, and Shifen

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From Yehliu Geopark, our group headed to Jiufen Old Street. It’s a small village up in the mountains where gold deposits were discovered during the Japanese occupation. Jiufen is referred to as an “old town” because many buildings remain unchanged up to now. After World War II, gold mining declined and the old town stands today mainly as a tourist spot that celebrates the history and culture of Taiwan.

I liked the fact that Jiufen is easily accessible from Taipei. You can reach it in 2 hours by public transport. Our group went to Jiufen through a private van and it was a short trip from Yehliu Geopark.

While I enjoyed Jiufen as a destination, the event that transpired between my family and our van driver was an unpleasant one. It was past lunchtime and it was raining very hard. The parking lot was located below a very steep flight of stairs. The steps were uneven and slippery. Thus, my husband and I decided to rush through the old street by ourselves to grab something to eat and to buy lunch for my then 2-year old son and nanny. We left my son and nanny in the car so that they won’t get wet and catch a cold.

Unfortunately, while we were away, the driver demanded that the nanny and our son leave the van because apparently, there’s an ordinance that does not allow people to stay in parked vehicles in the area. The driver did not tell us about it even as soon after as we stepped out of the van. He could have said something so that we can adjust our plan.

It was VERY VERY cold and the rain was strong. Our nanny doesn’t speak Taiwanese and can’t communicate in fluent English either. She tried to tell the driver to contact us so that we can be informed about it but according to her, the driver yelled at her. Terrified, the nanny brought my son outside and carried him in one hand while she used the other hand to open an umbrella. However, the rain was really strong and they still got wet. She tried to find a place for shelter and by then, my son started crying. The nanny noticed that my son, then non-verbal, was having tantrums because he was feeling very cold. He was shivering and his lips turned dark blue.

What the nanny did was she returned to the van to ask that they be allowed to go inside. Just as they reached the place, we were also back with food in our hands. Then we saw our nanny crying as she was trying to make my son feel warm. My son just finished crying and his eyes were swollen. He was in a daze while drinking milk. He was so hungry he asked the nanny for a bottle.

Just the thought of what happened and writing this for you is making me tear up. Again, while Jiufen is a nice tourist destination, I don’t think it will ever make up for what we experienced there. What happened actually tainted our excitement for the rest of the attractions that we visited on the same day.

This is not to say that you should not visit Jiufen. I actually gathered some photos to share with you and I hope you enjoy them notwithstanding my unpleasant story. At the end of the day, we learned our lesson and we are making sure that it doesn’t happen again in any of our travels.

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My First DIY Kiddie Party

imageI have always admired how my sister lovingly completes DIY/craft projects for my nephew’s birthday, or Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. Before I had my dear son, I told myself that I will be able to do that one day too. And with that I was thinking of DIY parties for my “future” kid/s. ¬†Yet even if my son arrived 3 years ago, I have never really undertaken to prepare a party that is completely DIY. Well, until his third birthday at toddler school.

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Taipei Travel 2015 [Day 4] – Yehliu Geopark

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One of the things that I like about Taipei is that you don’t need to fly nor drive too far to experience its natural wonders. Unlike in the Philippines where it is so much effort to get to the best beaches especially considering that our transport system is, sadly, and it makes me cringe to say this, third world, it is the opposite for tourists in Taipei. Just an hour away from the city, you can see geological formations that, in my case, reinforced my faith and awe in the magnificent blessings of God. Frankly, it’s the same feeling I felt when I see beaches, or mountains, or even when I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

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The air was fresh. It was drizzling, the roads were wet, and the wind was very cold. But our trip to Yehliu Geopark was special. My son, then two years old, smiled and giggled heartily as if saying that he loved the place. He frolicked on the wet paths and pulled our arms to signal that he wanted us to chase him around. He was mesmerized by the sea and the sounds that the waves created.

We didn’t mind the cold air nor the drizzle because my son was so game and the view was certainly fantastic. I definitely recommend a visit to Yehliu Geopark if you are visiting Taipei. It is good for the soul:)

I’m parking right here and will leave you with awesome photos below. Enjoy!

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