I landed in Taipei late Monday night from Busan. My flight was fast and comfortable, and I had no problems navigating the airport. I grabbed a taxi, barely uttering my directions in (some version of) Chinese, and was on my way.
|Taipei Airport |
(Photo courtesy ofwww.prettypop.net)
I arrived at Xinbeitou, just on the outskirts of Taipei at the end of the MRT train line, and my good friend and host Jenna was waiting to pick me up. We grabbed a tasty noodle and rice dish to share before making our way up the hill to her apartment. The weather was breezy and warm, and exceptionally dry for the winter season, lucky me.
Jenna lives at the top of a large apartment complex about 10 minutes from Xinbeitou station. After a round of hellos with her room-mates and co-workers Phil and Asten, we had a chat and catch-up session before turning in to bed.
The next day I made my way to Shilin and to the Royal Palace Museum, an arts hall which certainly lives up to the name. After a 20-minute subway ride and a 15-minute bus ride, I arrived. The grounds were gorgeous, lined with tall palm trees and the evergreens decorated with lights for Christmas. Large dragon statues sat to the either side of the beautiful white, towering entrance gate. The museum sat perched atop several flights of wide white stairs, and nestled between the tress.
|Stone dragon at the entrance of Taipei's Royal Palace Museum|
Inside, sadly, no photos were allowed. The museum houses one of the world's largest and finest collections of Asian art. I was fortunate enough to visit during the run of the exhibit, National Treasures. 100 of the museum's most prized peices were featured in full display, including jade carvings, gold Buddha tributes, and calligraphy scrolls. A beautiful exhibit, indeed. By the time I'd finished, about three hours later, it was dusk and the perfect time to photograph the beautiful grounds.
|Entrance to Taipei's Royal Palace Museum, lit up for Christmas|
|The Royal Palace Museum at dusk|
After a few snaps, I'd managed to take all of the museum's offerings. I made my way back to Shilin to meet Jenna. I picked up a tasty green onion pancake with cheese and egg, made to order form a street stall on the way for 40 Taiwanese dollars (About 1,500 Korean won or $1.50).
|Tasty green onion pancake from a roadside stall|
Still peckish, we made our way to "Modern Toilet," a restaurant with a restroom theme.
Entering the restaurant, we see rows of toilets with novelty seat covers lining the walls, to be used as chairs. Large sinks with glass tops serve as table, and toilet paper holders on the walls dispense tissue. Everything was toilet or poop themed, from the serving ware (tiny toilet bowls and urinals) to the banister posts on the stairs (tiny golden turds). We order a curry chicken dish, cola, and ice cream desert to share. Each comes served in a decidedly disgusting (or funny?) toilet-themed serving dish. The ice cream, served to resemble a swirl comes in a porcelain squat toilet dish. Classy. The whole meal runs us about 297 Taiwanese dollars, about 12,000 Korean won, or $12.
|Toilet seating at Modern Toilet restaurant|
|Even the stair banisters keep the "toilet" theme|
|Dinner is served in a bowl... a toilet bowl, that is.|
|Ice cream in a porcelain squat toilet bowl. Tastier than it may look!|
Full, and fully weirded out, Jenna and I called it a night. We made our way back to Beitou by subway, and Jenna drove us to her apartment on her scooter. We made use of the natural sulfur hot spring tubs in the basement of her building for a soak before heading off to bed. All in all, a pleasant and variety-filled day.