It is my last day in Taipei. I am now taking off on the high speed train down to Cheng Long. And yet again it is raining.
I thought I would take a leisurely morning stroll and visit a tea shop and A Little Tea House to buy some tea and gifts and have a nice lunch, but I got caught in the rain and walked back rather wet and dejected. Thinking about how not every outing of mine was as successful as they might sound.
Take for instance my visit yesterday to the Imperial Palace Museum. Various people both Taiwanese and American warned me about visiting this very famous museum. It would be loud and crowded they said, but along I went anyway thinking to go early and during the week after the weekend holiday so that I would miss most of the crowds. WRONG! It was utter mayhem. And I have to say my worse Museum visit experience ever! And if you have been reading my blogs all these years, you know I have been to many around the world. Of course the objects and exhibits were beautiful and filled with over 5,000 years of historical artifacts saved from the Forbidden City at the end of the Chinese Revolution. But man was it filled with the most obnoxious of visitors. Mostly from mainland China. Even their tour guides seemed horrendous to me, barging their way into the galleries with no care for others. Their clients following them like cattle in unpassable rivers of human torrents. Not even the museum guards who walk around constantly with signs saying please keep quiet seems to achieve anything. At least afterwards I was able to decompress in a nearby garden where as I was walking suddenly came upon a scent that at first was so intoxicating I thought it was the remnants of someone earlier smoking marijuana, and then I saw what I think was a Jasmine bush in bloom, Oh… this discovery so much helped me to relax before I took the bus back to the metro.
Even though I was tired, I decided to try and cheer myself up by trying to find a tea shop that I looked up in hopes of being served a proper Taiwanese tea. And thankfully my prayers were answered. I shared a very special tea with Natu, and even though she tried very hard to help find me an oolong in the shop that I liked, I ended up just purchasing a bag of jasmine pearls in appreciation of her undivided attention.
This was the beginning of a much better evening when afterwards I met up with Robin again who took me on a ramble through one of Taipei’s many night markets, where you can say that I was quite daring, or gently persuaded by my host to try out some very traditional Taiwanese but outrageous foods in my book. These included stinky tofu in a soup with congealed duck’s blood and the pig’s large intestine sliced up to look like calamari.) Then there was the grilled chicken butts. At least I managed to introduce her to the real calamari fried to perfection. And you know what, my stomach survived the tumult. I even went back to my place and after a week of being quite blocked up, my innards were finally able to relax themselves.
Ahhhh, that might have been a bit too much for you to hear, but what can I say I am enjoying sharing my experiences with you and so far most of you seem to be expressing the same. Well it is time to say goodbye to vacation and hello to going back to work. And it looks like it might mostly be out in the rain. Yuck!