#joaninTW2013 Day 3 (Dec 21)

Day 3 in Taipei was an absolutely amazing day!

This morning's breakfast :)

This morning’s breakfast 🙂

We started the day with an early buffet breakfast at the hotel, and I first want to say that when I mentioned the breakfast yesterday, I didn’t give it nearly enough credit as it deserves. It has so much variety that caters to all types of guests; sunny-side up eggs, scrambled eggs, sausages, ham, oatmeal, and pancakes for the Westerners; congee, associated preserved goods, lotus root, bean curd dishes, rice, noodles, and buns for the Asians. There is also an unfailing supply of various types of drinks, including hot coffee, hot milk, ice coffee, iced tea, and juice. The chefs are extremely thoughtful and really work hard to provide good quality and variety – we are so impressed!

After breakfast, we had an early start to the day as our morning’s tour guide came to pick us up at around 0800. Our tour today once again took us to the North coast of Taiwan, but today we went to 基隆 (Keelung) and 野柳地質公園 (Yehliu Geopark). Keelung is Taiwan’s second largest seaport, and is a small city just north of Taipei. Apparently, it used to be called 雞籠 “chicken coop” because the mountain/hill it is near is liken to a chicken coop; however, it was later changed to 基隆, which is phonetically pronounced the same in mandarin, but does not have such a downgrading meaning. This city is apparently well-known for their tempura, which unfortunately we did not have a chance to try as we were only passing through. We were also lucky to see the big yellow duckling sitting in the harbour! It was the first day at Keelung, as previously it was sitting in Kaohsiung. Since I missed it while it was in HK, at least I got to see a glimpse of it here. 🙂

Braving the wind and rain @Yehliu Geopark

Braving the wind and rain @Yehliu Geopark

The highlight of the tour was definitely the time we spent at Yehliu Geopark. The main attractions to this cape park are the hoodoo stones that decorate the entire cape. The sea waves have eroded away the softer rock, leaving unique rock formations that we now are able to marvel in and gape at. The most famous is the one that is called “Queen’s Head”, which looks like a regal queen’s side profile from one direction only (any other direction, it does not look like anything). Other ones include the “Cute Princess,” “Ginger Stones,” and the “Candle Rocks.” It was almost unbelievable that nature would be able to create such things, especially the Candle Rocks as it appeared too perfect. Walking through all the rock formations, I feel like some things are man-made or augmented by man, such as the ground, but I think that the actual main attractions are real. It was a shame that it was so windy and rainy that we weren’t able to enjoy the park as much as we could – apparently the best time to come is in September/October when it’s not too hot, but not rainy. I sported my new yellow rain poncho the whole time, and I felt super fashionable. 😀

The best honey toast at Dazzling Cafe Mint

The best honey toast at Dazzling Cafe Mint

After we got back to Taipei, I called up my friend Jay, who I know from Vancouver, and we met up for an awesome afternoon chillage! He took me subwaying to have lunch and do some shopping, and the first stop was Dazzling Cafe, home to the world’s best honey toast. He ordered the Chocolate Hazelnut Honey Toast and a latte, while I ordered the Party In Your Mouth Honey Toast and a caramel macchiatto. Jay’s toast came with a healthy dollop of whipped cream and chocolate sauce, with crunchy box toast that had some hazelnut filling. My box toast had delicious buttercream, icecream, and strawberry sauce atop crunchy toast as well, with a tiny pitcher of extra honey in case it wasn’t sweet enough. These were seriously the best things I have had in ages, and I am glad that my virgin honey toast was taken here. When I get back to Vancouver, I will try the one at What8ver sometime and compare, but I doubt nothing will compare to what we had today at Dazzling. After a delightful “lunch” at Dazzling over good conversation completely in English (SO refreshing), we strolled over to SOGO and I binged on Muji stationery. Then, as the legit foodies that we are, we attempted to go to Caldo Cafe nearby for soufflés. However, there was too long of a wait, so after hanging around for 15 minutes and still notable, we decided just to head home. It really was a shame that we didn’t get to go today, as Caldo is Jay’s favourite place, and there are no soufflé shops in Vancouver! Again, this is another reason that I need to come back to Taipei. Anyhow, spending the whole afternoon with Jay was awesome, and I felt so lucky to have a friend in the city who could take me exploring the city in a way that I never would be able to on my own. Thank you! 🙂 (PS Where was my mother? She was contently enjoying another massage at the place near our hotel!)

Day 3 Dinner

Day 3 Dinner

For dinner, I reunited with  my mother and we went down to the streets near our hotel once more. We ended up in a place called 味都拉麵, where my mom had a 麻油雞 (sesame oil chicken) with rice, I had a 海鮮麻辣拉麵 (seafood spicy ramen), and we shared some delicious stirfried local cabbage. The food was simple but so delicious and satisfying, and we had very nice conversation with the store owner lady, who apparently came back from the US to open up this shop with her husband. She was as appalled as we were by the short duration of our stay in Taipei (only 3 days), and she suggested that an easy way for me to be able to come back to Taipei is to marry a nice Taiwanese boy. Good idea…anyone have recommendations? 😉

And that was pretty much the end of our day! After dinner, we went to 7-eleven to pick up some random snacks, and then just returned to our room to chill and clean up. I intended to use the hotel’s treadmill tonight, but unfortunately the top floor was closed for “typhoon warning” (the only way to the gym is through the  top floor’s open terrace). Boo. But whatever, that only meant more time to complete this blogging with my delicious lychee flavoured Taiwanese Beer!

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