Taiwan Day 115: O Christmas Eve - Dec. 24, 2013 | Travel in Asia

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Taiwan Day 115: O Christmas Eve - Dec. 24, 2013

O Christmas Eve! My classmates and I started to celebrate this day by taking pictures at the Christmas Tree in the lobby of the Institute of Information Science (IIS). This institute is my home unit in Academia Sinica. After having our Biology 1 class about eukaryotic cell cycle, we hurriedly went to this Christmas decorations to have some pictures. My international PhD classmates Nikhil (India), Divya (India), Kidane (Ethiopia) and Alcides (Peru) all have fun in this wonderful afternoon.

In the evening, my PhD classmate Chris (Taiwan) guided my fellow classmates in touring Raohe Night Market. Nikhil, Alcides and I joined him in this cold and rainy Christmas Eve. Divya did not join the group as she was preparing for her seminar presentation. Like a mom she waved goodbye to us while closing the glass doors of the TIGP Dorm. Chris told us that another person was joining our team and we meet him at Raohe Night Market.

We took Bus 306 and we reached the night market in less than 30 minutes and we got to know our new friend. His name was Michael and he was also a Taiwanese. I've also heard that he was planning to apply for the Taiwan International Graduate Program this coming 2014. I hope that he will be selected so that he can be part of the growing TIGP Bioinformatics family.

I have noticed one thing in Raohe! There were only a few people going around. I just realized that tonight was an ordinary weekday so the place was not packed with people and I learned something new from that moment. So if you are going to visit to Taiwan and you plan to go in a night market I am suggesting you to visit on a weekday so there would be less people walking along the street.

Visiting the night market would not be complete if we would not eat. I have just visited Ningxia Night Market last Sunday in Taiwan Day 113 and that was a blast! Tonight was another opportunity to experience Taiwanese food. Chris led us to a hot pot restaurant. This was my first time to experience a real hot pot and since Chris was Taiwanese ordering the meal was not difficult. He explained the menu and I selected the duck hot pot. My hot pot also includes vegetables and I believe it was a healthy meal.

The hot pot was really hot! Just look at the pictures and see why I slightly burnt my tounge as well as my throat because of carelessness in sipping the soup. The cost of the hot pot was NTD 110 and I will recommend this place to my friends in the Philippines if they plan to visit Taiwan someday. The group talked a lot things as we ate our meal. The chat was all about courtship and marriage in Indian and Taiwanese culture and I learned that if I will marry an Indian I will receive a large amount of money whereas if I will marry a Taiwanese I will be the one give her family a sum of money. hmmm... interesting....

Chris granted my request to experience the 'snow' in Taiwan and we went to a desserts shop to eat the so called 'Snow Ice'. I remember halo-halo in the Philippines when I first saw the store. 'Halo' means mix so 'halo-halo' means mix-mix. Basically, you just mix sliced tropical fruits, shaved ice and milk to have a very delicious summer drink. I chose the Taiwan Mango flavor as it was more tempting to eat than the strawberry flavor. When I received my 'Snow Ice', I asked Alcides if the shaved ice really looks like snow. Alcides came from Peru and there is snow in his country and he can tell me what snow really looks like. He said that the 'Snow Ice' really look like snow but the texture was not the same because real snow is a bit hard while the 'Snow Ice' is soft. My mango flavored dessert cost NTD 90.

When I finished my dessert and as we were walking to the bus stop I felt cold. The 'snow' was now inside my stomach and I shivered. We waited for around 15 minutes or more for the bus going to Taipei City Hall. After waiting, the bus arrived and it was a big relief. We reached Taipei City Hall in a few minutes and we went directly to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi where there was a lot of Christmas decorations. Just after crossing the street before reaching our destination we were greeted by people holding 'Free Hug' signboards. Since it was free I took the chance to hug the lady and she just said 'Merry Christmas!!!'.

We took a lot of photos in the so called Taipei Christmas City and we first saw a giant snow ball with colorful lights that dances with the music. Another attraction was this mirror house just below the giant Christmas Tree. We have the best group photo in this magic mirrors! I also love that mirror in which it stretched body and I looked taller. haha!

It was 10:45pm when we decided to leave Xinyi District so that we can still ride a bus back to TIGP Dorm. We bid goodbye to our new friend Michael. I shook his hand as I said 'Nice meeting you'. Nikhil, Alcides and I boarded the bus going to the dorm but we first say goodbye and greet Chris a happy Christmas.

As of this writing it is already 1:27 am. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all !!!

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