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Jan. 1, 2013
Have you ever lived a day where the world is on fire. Both feet are on the ground but your head is in the clouds. There's an epiphany around every corner and enlightenment is a daily ritual here in Taiwan. You feel bound to nothing and everything around you. This is what I am feeling today. There is something in the air around here. Taipei is full of many things, but I have noticed mainly three that are very distinct. There is no shortage of pork, motor scooters and smiles.
I start the day early with braised pork broth and rice, eggs and tea with warm soy milk. We headed out to partake in culture - a temple crawl of sorts. The streets are busy with scooters humming by. The noises and activities of everyday life cease as you enter these temples. Whether it be Confucius or Buddha, as you cross over the threshold, there's a silence that overtakes the area. The trees seem to shake hands with each other as you stroll through the courtyards. The intricate designs, angles, details and colors overtake you. I thought to myself, the Sistine Chapel has nothing on the centuries of carving minute details out of wood and stone. The plumes of smoke from the hundreds of burning incense sticks pierce your nose and a piece of you rises with the smoke into the air. I made a small wish hoping that it would find its way towards heaven, and my God, their God, some God would appreciate it and know that no matter what, love permeates the air here mainly.
The afternoon was spent doing some exploring. Peace Park 2/28. Wow. Small pagodas, bridges over water, stone dragons watching your every move. You move over stone and tree root to discover the small things in life are still there. You just have to seek them a little harder.
Chang Kai Shek Memorial. Again with the wow. Similar to Tianamen Square in China, it's a concert hall to the left, national theater to the right, and the archway framing it all in. Standing in the middle is liberating enough for me to truly understand what liberty and freedom mean to the Taiwanese. I respect the stone under my feet. A small red tent entices you to come in. What I thought would be more useless junk, turned out to be the most traditional medicinal and old school snacks Taipei has to offer. Me and Kelly decide to do it and taste the 100 year Egg. My body started to rigor with anticipation as if I was ready to bungee jump. I look at the black yolk and orange gelatinous white and pop it in. Chewing faster than I thought my mouth would move, I realized, it tasted like egg. Go figure. We tried mushroom teas, flower teas, sesame candies and kumquat juice. What a great tent to wander into.
Rounding out our day, we went to dinner at Modern Toilet. I saw this on the food network roughly a year ago and thought - what a fun place. The minute I knew I was going to Taipei, I knew I had to go. It's a restrained theme around the toilet. Yes, literally. Their logo is a swirled pile of golden dung with a fly circling around it. We were taken to our table, you circle what you want on the menu and the meal includes green tea drank out of a urinal and curry hot pots in a personal size toilet bowl. We concluded the meal with our free chocolate ice cream in a tiny toilet. Delicious, in a sick twisted way, but super fun. What a way to end the day.
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Last updated or reviewed on 1/4/13