It was supposed to rain today, so my plan was to visit museums and save outdoor activities for the next day. The rain was delayed, and even though the National Museum of History was tiny and boring, it was nice to get out of the heat. Speaking of heat, I bought a little yellow umbrella from a 7-Eleven just to prevent me from getting sunburned again because it was cheaper and more effective than sunscreen.
Due to the rain delay, I decided to go to Martyr’s Shrine to see the changing of the guard. When I arrived at Danzhi Station, the heavy rain began. I ate lunch at a cafe and waited for the rain to die. When it did, I visited the Zhifu Temple. Then I found the bus stop. I didn’t see Martyr’s Shrine written anywhere, so I asked a young woman if she spoke English. She was from Indonesia and knew very little English. I showed her Martyr’s Shrine in my tourist map, and she typed what she wanted to say to me in a translation app on her cell phone. She showed me the English translation: “Follow me.” So I followed her onto a bus.
When the bus stopped at the Grand Palace Museum, she said it was my stop. I said I wanted to go to Martyr’s Shine. She looked confused and asked “What’s that?” Another woman told me I could get out here and take any other bus to Martyr’s Shrine, so I got out. She was wrong. Nobody knew what I was talking about. I gave up and went to the museum. At least I was able to get out of the heat.
I stood in line and paid, and got a headset. I was turned away and told to put my backpack in a locker. I did, then stood in line again. This time I was turned away for not having a ticket. I asked a staff member where my ticket was, and she said my locker key was my ticket. I stood in line again and showed my key. I was turned away again for not having a ticket. Then I found the ticket counter. I was told I could get a discount if I bought my ticket after 5:00, so I killed time at the gift shop downstairs.
Other than being in an air-conditioned building, this was not worth the time, money, and frustration. This was a boring museum. All they have is pottery and calligraphy. That’s it.
Do Look Down
After a long hot day at the Taipei Zoo, I walked to Maokong to ride a glass bottom gondola up the mountain. I bought my ticket, went up four flights of stairs, and waited in line. I waited about 30 minutes. I shared my gondola with 4 Chinese people. I got off at the third station, and they continued up the mountain. I didn’t realize until then that I only bought a one-way ticket, so I had buy another $100 ticket to go back. The gondola I returned in did not have a glass bottom, but I was alone, which was cool. I had never ridden in a gondola by myself before. Also, the amazing view made the wait worth it.
Taipei 101 Observation Room
A ticket to the observation room costs $50 NTD. The elevator takes you from the 5th floor to the 88th floor in 43 seconds. Your ears pop like when you take off in an airplane. It’s quite a rush.
I was supposed to meet my friends there, but I arrived late because the gondola ride took much longer than I expected. I searched for them around the observation room for a long time. I was almost ready to give up when Liana saw me and called my name. I don’t know how I missed them, but there they were.
The view was incredible, so we stayed and took pictures until it got dark.
You Can Have Your
Urinal Cake and Eat it Too
We ended the day with dinner at The Modern Toilet Restaurant. Instead of sitting in chairs, customers sit on toilet seats. There’s a round booth, which seats larger parties, that looks like a big toilet bowl.
I ordered spaghetti and jasmine tea, which cost $390 NTD. Not only was the spaghetti normal, it was surprisingly good. No matter what you order, when you finish your meal, you get chocolate ice cream served in the shape of the poop emoji.
This was a unique dining experience that highlights Asia’s quirky sense of humor, but because of the high prices, once was enough for me.
Artists in Ximen
And on the 5th day, I slept in. When the rain finally stopped I decided to visit Taipei 101 one last time to take pictures and buy souvenirs.
That night I returned to Ximen, and I’m glad I did, because I was able to watch a variety of street performers. First was a pair of men who played guitar and sang. Despite not being able to understand the Chinese lyrics, I enjoyed listening to them. Next I saw a British Escape Artist. He let random people bind him with chains, tape his fingers, and handcuff him. He ripped the tape off with his teeth, wiggled out of the chains, and picked the handcuffs with a piece of an umbrella. Then I saw group of local breakdancers who were very entertaining. The fourth and final artist was an old man who created beautiful masterpieces with spray-paint, paper stencils, and a blow torch. I watched him, fascinated by his process, for nearly 15 minutes while a huge crowd formed around him.
Juifen Old Street
On our 6th and final full day in Taiwan, my friends and I took a bus from Taipei to Juifen. It was a beautiful city by the sea.
This location has also been made famous by the Japanese animated film Spirited Away.
After returning to Taipei, we visited a Lego store called Brick Works, and then we got some bubble tea. While walking down the sidewalk, tea in hand, we saw a car with a Gundam robot on the roof. Then we saw a news van pull over. We stopped to take pictures of the car and watch the news anchor talk to the camera.
The news anchor approached us and said she noticed that we were taking pictures of the Gundam robot car, and asked if we’d like to be interviewed. Of course we said yes.
I was interviewed first. She asked me questions about Gundam robots, most of which I had no answer for as I am not a huge fan. Then she interviewed Richard. She told us that this segment would air on channel 55 at 6 pm.
We wanted to make the most out of our last day, so instead of trying to find a TV to watch, we went to a night market and Ximen.
I would highly recommend visiting Taiwan for at least a week or two. Traveling within Taipei is easy. Most locals were able to communicate with me. People were friendly and helpful. Come here if you want to do a lot and spend a little.