Take a look at these photos. What city is it? I would say the top photo could pass as Tokyo (especially the Nihonbashi district, when viewed from the Mandarin Oriental). The bottom photo is taken from the Ren Ai Circle. On KCL’s last night in Taipei, we went up Elephant Mountain to the rock garden. I really love looking out at Taipei from those giant rocks—especially when I’m not losing my phone—and we commented for the nth time how much Taipei 101 defines the Taipei skyline. I’ve always gazed out my living room window, which looks out at Taipei 101, but the other day before we went to dinner at FiFi for Aunt I’s last night, I peered out LY’s window at dusk. Still beautiful - still Taipei. 

Tags: Taipei

This past weekend (July 26 - July 27), we went on a road trip to Taizhong (the correct spelling in pin yin, but more popularly known as Taichung, which I will now refer to it as), the third largest city in Taiwan. We visited the botanical garden/indoor rain forest, adjoined with the National Museum of Natural Sciences. It was really interesting how all that separated two unique ecosystems was this glass dome, as there was a tropical rain forest indoors and indigenous Taiwanese plants in the outdoor park. I took a photo with Mr. Tree Frog for AL, who loves her frogs! Taichung marks the last of my Taiwan explorations for this year, which have included Pinglin, Hualien (Taraoko Gorge), Sun Moon Lake, Kenting, Taidong, Green Island, Penghu, Yang Ming Shan, San Xia, and even more places! It’s a bit of an embarrassment how little I got outside of Taipei when I was in school. This year of travel is a good reminder that your worldview can be as narrow or as wide as you want it to be. 

Post-brunch, we roasted ourselves with a walk through the Imperial Palace East Gardens. Tokyo is even hotter than Taipei in the summer! It was noon when we arrived at the garden gate, but we still walked through the entire garden, which was filled with many different flora but unfortunately not much shade. Thankfully, we figured out how to walk underground via the metro all the way back to our hotel. 

Back to Tokyo posts we go! After our extremely oishi sushi dinner, we grabbed drinks at the hotel bar followed by room service for dessert (chocolate wonton with caramelized banana and ice cream + champagne). The top four photos show my breakfast: lox, my favorite fresh summer berries, the best almond croissant I have ever had (I later unsuccessfully tried to recreate the experience in a Mitsukoshi food court), peach danish (that’s not pudding but an actual half of a peach!), feta and spinach egg white omelette, and even some dim sum. This brunch definitely makes top three brunch experiences ever thanks to the food, view, and company! We also got great tea and fresh fruit juices. 

IZ visited me in Taipei! We went to the Joan Miro exhibit at the National History Museum with KCL (who was riveted by Miro’s work!); walked through XinYi District (I discovered that one of the Mitsukoshis has a Valrhona store in its food court!) and 101; made Happy Hour at Le Ble Dor; ate at Din Tai Fung; shopped in the East District; went clubbing at Spark; relaxed at the Evergreen Spa in Yilan; checked out the Taipei Paris Nights/Taipei543 event at TAV Cafe; had lunch at Yuan Shao Grill; ate our way through Tung Hua Night Market; got drinks at Trio; and walked through my neighborhood over the course of her four days. She’s my last visitor in Taipei this year, but I hope I will have many more in the future. 

Tags: Taipei 101

Last night, LL hosted a lovely wine and cheese gathering at her place. I was already so full from our MaLa Hot pot dinner, but I still managed to eat a bailey’s cupcake from Les Bebes—I guess two cupcakeless weeks were enough to bring back my appetite. 

Reposted from sleuthly

Sometimes I forget how beautiful nature is. Only an hour outside of Taipei, Pinglin is a lush, green jungle of a township, with numerous trails running alongside streams. Mom took us here a few days ago, and we went swimming in the creek with Fox. Unfortunately, I had a bit of an upset stomach after downing one too many delicious cubes of juicy mango pre-car ride. I think I might have an allergic reaction to mangoes… I am going to miss the convenient access to natural sanctuaries away from the city. 

Reposted from sleuthly

A few days after I got back from Tokyo, Mom took (LY)^2, KCL, and I to YMS Park (a small section of it, at least) and The Top. The last time I was here was for someone’s birthday in high school, and I had forgotten how splendid the view was. It’s probably the most comprehensive skyline view of Taipei that I’ve seen, since I’m usually in the heart of it all. Instead of its usual looming stature, Taipei 101 seemed to almost blend in with the myriad of lights dotting the horizon. We got there at that beautiful moment when daylight gives way to the night, so we watched the sky change colors. The food was better than what I had expected, but of course at a venue like The Top, food takes a backseat to the view!