Shortly before I left my previous company, I told my cousins that we should go out on a date as I was going to be extremely free and between jobs for two whole weeks. A few days later, they rang me up and asked, excitedly, if I wanted to go to Taiwan. For free!
The gist of the story is that during my temporary unemployment, Cousin Ching had also taken leave and Cousin Wan was heading to Taipei for business. She then suggested that we join her there and even generously paid for our air tickets with her miles (yay!). So on the last week of February (I know, it’s ages ago), I found myself onboard an SIA plane and heading towards Taipei.
Taipei has never been a priority on my must-go list. I’m not particularly fond of the people, or their fashion, or their sights. I would much rather spend my money on London, Melbourne, San Francisco, Barcelona or New York City. And having been there, I am pretty sure that I won’t be returning anytime soon.
It didn’t appeal to me the way the old world charm of Europe did. It didn’t blow me away with its vibrancy and life, the way cities like Hong Kong did. The shopping was not phenomenal. The best bit was, the weather was so gloomy and cold that when we tried going up to Taipei 101 twice, we were advised not to on the first trip and saw nothing on our second. Very sad.
The one fabulous thing about Taipei was its food: I loved the youtiao and dou jiang!
The cousins and I ventured out into Sun Moon Lake via the high-speed train (which was pretty awesome!) and while the serenity was a nice contrast to city life, it still could not top the beauty of China’s nature. But we had a nice time walking around the lake and understanding the history of the area. Unlike the fortunate Mrs Apprentice Housewife though, we did not stay at The Lalu – a gorgeous, luxe hotel perched on the highest slopes of Sun Moon Lake.
It was a nice, little break though and I had a lovely time with my sisters. That, for me, was the best thing about the trip.
More photos available at my flickr site.