Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taipei Street Scenes

The street from my hotel window
by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Late in the day after Valerie and I had been to Taiwan National University and gone for a ride on the High Speed Rail (HSR), we took a walk in the area around our hotel.  Valerie was looking for some boots - and wound up buying multiple pairs - and I was just walking along and snapping pictures  It was a nice afternoon with no demands pressing on our time.

Looking for a place that sells boots
Lots of young people in the streets
Show me the boots!
Serious shoppers
Traffic congestion
Some sort of sidewalk food establishment
Fresh veggies

Taiwan High Speed Rail

De train!  De train!
by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Passengers boarding the HSR at Taipei Station
One of the things that our new friend Andrew Liu (whom we met at Taiwan National University) suggested that Valerie and I do was to take a ride on Taiwan's privately constructed High Speed Rail (HSR).  He said that the Taiwanese version of a "bullet train" would also be a good way to get to the airport when our brief vacation was over in a couple of days.  We decided to take a trial run from Taipei to Taoyuan - a city close to the airport where free bus shuttles would ferry us and our luggage on to the airport terminal when we were ready to leave.  The trip took about twenty minutes, much of it through tunnels, but we did get to see flashes of countryside along the way.

More people boarding
The HSR gets up and moves - with a high end speed of 217 miles per hour!  It was a very comfortable ride, and we did take it a second time when we went to the airport for our departure to Okinawa a two days later.

Our car 
Valerie on board the HSR
Sign at Taoyuan Station.  Which way to the
Kiss and Ride?
Shuttle buses at Taoyuan Station - waiting to take
passengers to the airport

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Taiwan National University

by Pa Rock
Valerie strolling along a bicycle parking lot outside of the
Eternal Tourist

Valerie and I decided to visit Taiwan National University while we were in Taipei.  Before we had even walked onto the campus she made friends out in the street with an older gentleman named C.H. "Andrew" Liu.  Andrew, who lives in Montreal, Canada, was born in Taiwan to a doctor and his wife who had many children.   Andrew had returned to Taiwan for his 50th college reunion.  He showed us much of the campus, including where to buy tee-shirts, and then bought us coffee before strolling off to attend his reunion.  It turns out that Andrew is a terrific pen pal, and I receive regular emails from him.

A large banyan tree (in background) on campus
The university is as large as a major American university.  Most of the students, however, appear to get to and from school by bicycles and motor scooters, unlike their American counterparts who prefer to drive.  We were there on a weekend so there were not nearly as many students on campus as we would have encountered on a weekday.

We had a very good time seeing Taiwan National University.   Enjoy the photos!

Valerie meeting Andrew outside of the university

Valerie Seitz and Andrew Liu on campus
A campus building
Another university building
Campus stores
Student store where we bought tee-shirts
Coffee break with the three caballeros
A parking lot for motor scooters 
Another campus building
Undoubtedly a dormitory
More bicycles and another campus building
Valerie and Andrew strolling along the campus
More of the campus
A snack bar
A campus alleyway
You can ride my bi-cycle!
Banyan trees and hanging moss - very Gothic!
A guest cottage?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tea Eggs

Tea eggs simmering in a Taipei convenience store
by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

One of the delicacies that we were treated to at the tea house high up in the mountains of Taiwan was tea eggs - eggs that are hard boiled over several hours in a large kettle of tea.  At some point in the process the eggs are cracked so that the flavor of the tea is actually able to seep into the eggs.  After returning to Taipei, we discovered that most of the local quick stops had a kettle of tea eggs on a slow boil for their customers.  Tea eggs have a really unique flavor, and they are easy to make.  Give them a try!

More from Taiwan: Chih Nan Temple

by Pa Rock
World Traveler

Pagoda on a small lake at dusk

My postings on our trip to Taiwan were interrupted so that I could post the pictures from Baby Olive's trip to Okinawa.  But now that little Olive and her parents are back home in the United States, I will resume putting up photos of the trip the Valerie, Murphy, and I took to Taiwan over President's Day weekend.

The last set posted showed our trip up into the hills above Taipei on a gondola.  On our way down the mountain, we exited early and visited the beautiful Chih Nan Temple and Taisui Shrine.  It was almost dark as we were touring these sights, so some of the pictures aren't as good as they could have been if we had arrived earlier in the day.

The Chi Nan Temple complex is Taoist and was constructed beginning in 1882.

It was a very serene stop on our limited tour of Taiwan.

Some temple architecture
A long covered walkway coursing through the temple site
An interior/exterior view
Looking out toward Taipei
Flowers and food for the Gods
Interior view of the shrine
Exterior shot with Valerie at the wall
Dragons guarding an incense pot
More offerings
Murphy admiring a waterfall
Buddha among the waters
Valerie and Murphy at the temple
Large carved elephant
A pair of happy Buddhas