Taiwan Day 106: Tour Guide For A Day - Dec. 15, 2013 | Travel in Asia

Monday, December 16, 2013

Taiwan Day 106: Tour Guide For A Day - Dec. 15, 2013

I thought the rainy days were over and I was surprised that Taiwan’s winter was wet and wild! After the successful celebration of my Taiwan Day 100 I opted for an indoor activity since the cold winter rains might just spoil the fun in the place that I will be visiting. One of the choices that a person can do on a rainy day is to visit a museum or an art gallery. According to one blog that I have read, there are around 40+ museums in Taipei so that means I have 10 months of buffer places to visit on a rainy day if it will rain for 10 months. hehe! I have already visited one in Taiwan Day 84 and it was the Discovery Center of Taipei. Each museum has their own distinct flavor and it is up to you if you want to try them.

My original plan for this Taiwan Day 106 was to explore the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) alone but a Filipino friend asked me to accompany a newcomer in Taiwan to buy some souvenir items for his family and friends in the Philippines. He was also a Filipino and he went here because he was undergoing a two week training in a research lab in a Taiwanese University. I accepted the request of my good friend and I believe it will be a new nice experience to be a tour guide in Taipei for one day.

We started our tour by riding a bus from TIGP Dorm and we have a lot of talk about the efficient public transportation of Taipei as compared to Metro Manila’s transport system that promotes buying your own car that only wealthy people and those with so much money can do. I was glad to hear from him that the new overpass in Philcoa in the University of the Philippines was now being replaced… again. I believe that the engineer or architect who designed the overpass doesn’t think and even didn’t model the huge number of people that will use the overpass. [“Basta makagawa lang ng overpass Ok na. Bobo!”]. Many things will be learned by Filipinos by visiting foreign places like Taiwan and they will know how people from other countries do and build things. I was glad to know that he also graduated from UP and he was doing research work at the UP Diliman Institute of Biology.

We made our first stop in Minquan to buy some Philippine stuff and I was able to buy two bottles of Master Eskinol and Safeguard. haha! While walking along the streets my new friend was happy to hear other Filipinos speaking in Tagalog. It just feels like home! Right after Minquan we went directly to MOCA. The modern art gallery can be reached via the R4 exit of the Zhongshan Station of the Tamsui Line. We first made a mistake in looking for the art gallery but were still successful in finding it. One advice that I can give to future tourist in Taiwan is to understand first the map in the MRT station so that you won’t waste time looking for your desired tourist spot.

MOCA have established a public art gallery outside the exits of Zhongshan Station. Walking there was heaven and I have some photos with the amazing creatures there like Big Pow the robot. It was raining a little but I still have a lot of fun. My new friend took photos of me. However, he doesn’t want me to take photos of him. He said that he was not fancy of having his own photo. We found MOCA and we paid 50 NTD each for our ticket. The ticket we have received was not the usual piece of paper or thin cardboard that you will get from a ticketing counter rather it was a circular carboard that rotates. I will post a short video clip soon about our ticket. The current main exhibit in MOCA right now was called ‘Post-Humanist Desire’. MOCA has a lot of interesting displays but for me the displays were weird, creepy and stressful to look at. Just take a look at my photos and you decide if they were disturbing. By the way, taking photos were allowed inside MOCA but using flash was not allowed. I was also able to video some of the interesting displays and galleries and I would appreciate if you would make some comments about them because I believe that art is not always feasible to the eye and it is also something that can tickle your mind.

After our brains were shaken by MOCA we went to Taipei Main Station to buy ‘pasalubong’. ‘Pasalubong’ is a Filipino term that means welcome gift. If a Filipino goes out of town or out of the country he or she is expected to buy something for their loved ones. It was a good thing that I already went here during my Taiwan Day 8 so I was familiar with the underground malls in Taipei Main Station. We first searched the Station Front Mall to look for the cheapest Taiwanese goodies like pineapple cake. We were able to buy one to a kind Taiwanese grandmother. My friend bought 5 boxes of different Taiwanese delicacies for a total price of 500 NTD. According to one of my PhD classmate, Taipei Main Station was the best place to buy ‘pasalubong’ and it was true since you will have a lot of choices. It was already 6pm and we got hungry and we decided to have Taiwanese noodles for the dinner. We choose to eat in a noodle house where there were a lot of customers. I believe that if a restaurant has lot of customers then the food must be tasty and also cheap. We were not disappointed and as expected the noodles were delicious. The noodles cost NTD 110 but comparing to the noodles that I have in my Taiwan Day 100, the noodles in my Taiwan Day 100 were better because of the variety of ingredients that you can choose from and also the large amount of servings that you will receive.

After the invigorating Taiwanese noodles, we wandered around Taipei City Mall. Taipei City Mall is another underground mall in Taipei Main Station and we went there to look for a phone gadget but we were not able to find a cheap one. We got thirsty but we saw some people falling in line for ice cream and then again following my principle I believe that there is something special with the ice cream that the store was selling and we tried to buy. The sellers know how to speak English. I just say that I only want a small cup and only one scoop. I chose the green tea flavor since there was little green tea left in the container and I believe it was a best seller so I tried it. My friend chose a melon flavor. Indeed, it was best ice cream in town and while we were finishing our ice cream there were still a lot of people falling in line to buy. We paid 25 NTD each for one scoop of ice cream. Is it the cheap price why the people are crazy about this ice cream store? My friend noticed that the sellers were not just scooping ice cream. They were trying to make it as a big round ball of ice cream before putting them in your cone or cup. Another reason was the quality of their ice cream and my green tea ice cream really tasted green tea. The store offers a lot of flavors so it might be another reason why people try to come back and make some combinations.

My friend wants to see Taipei 101 so went there after eating our ice cream. I have seen Taipei 101 many times but this is the first time that I accompanied a friend to see this tall building. We tried to enter to building to see what’s inside Taipei 101 and I told him that inside the first 5 floors of Taipei 101 was a mall which sells expensive brands like Armani. He didn’t went up the Observatory as he doesn’t want to pay 500 NTD and I also don’t want to pay. I am reserving my visit to the Observatory of Taipei 101 in my special day in Taiwan but I’m trying to think which date I will visit because each of day of my stay in Taiwan is special. hehe! I just content myself with a photo with Red Damper Baby. We’ll get to know more of Red Damper Baby when I visit Taipei 101 someday. But when? [“Abangan nyo na lang!”]

We went back to the TIGP dorm via Bus 212. I was very tired walking, talking and going around the Taipei City but I can say that being a tour guide for a day was a fulfilling experience and I would always love to volunteer myself to be a tour guide. If you are planning to go to Taiwan just send me a message and I will be glad to help you. Naks! For my friends that were already here in Taiwan -> who wants to join me in my next travel adventure? hehe!

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