The worldwide Augustana College experience

Taipei, Taiwan

We arrived to Taipei a week ago.  It has been quite a time too.  At first I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I liked Japan, and I’m not sure I do, however, I like it a lot more than I did the first day we were out and about.  It was also quite weird to get used to brushing our teeth, something which I still haven’t gotten used to and ruined a toothbrush the other day in the process.  We can’t drink the water over here we have to use water that has been boiled so when we brush our teeth we can’t use the faucet and when you don’t think about it, it gets you into trouble.  I rinsed my tooth brush off with the tap water one night and thought if that’s the only time I do it, it will be okay.  However, the next morning when I was getting ready to brush my teeth I stuck the tooth brush under the faucet.  Thankfully our rooms had spare toothbrushes.

We are staying at the Chien Tan Youth Center which is probably the nicest place we’ve stayed.  They also have great breakfast because they’ve been serving frosted flakes and it’s the first time a lot of us have had cereal on this trip.  After class our first day we explored but had what seemed to us to be a harder time getting around.  That night we got lost trying to find the Modern Toilet which is a restaurant that is all bathroom themed.  You sit on a toilet seat and eat at a table that is a bathtub with a covering over it.  You eat out of toilet styled plates and bowls.  They even will serve you drinks in urinals some of which are take home.

While exploring I noticed, at least in my opinion, that the Japanese are a lot more friendly and in less of a hurry.  The driving here scares me for that reason because even if you have the walk signal the cars, especially the mopeds will almost run you over.  The people here always seem to be in a rush almost pushing and shoving.  This was not the case in Japan.

The next day we went to the National Palace Museum.  My favorite exhibits were the Jade exhibit and the gemstone exhibit.  The pieces were really cool and beautiful.  Sometimes it was hard to see because people would push you out of the way if there was any space between you and the object you were looking at.  After the museum some of us went to Taipei 101 which is the second tallest building in the world.  We were able to ride the worlds fastest elevator to the 89th floor and take pictures from inside and then we could take the stairs to the 91st floor and use the outside observation deck.  We were there for the sunrise and it was beautiful you could see so far around you.

Friday after our final and seminar we spent one afternoon at the Core Pacific City Living Mall which has amazing architectures but really expensive stores.  However, there was a Toys R Us that we went to.    That night we had Mongolian Barbecue which was really delicious and it was an all you could eat sort of thing where you chose your meat and they cooked it for you and it also came with ice cream.

The next day was amazing we went to Keelung and saw the harbor and then after that we went to Yehliu Geopark.  I’m not a huge nature fan or one for just walking around looking at rocks, but this was incredible.  The crazy formations rock take and the way rocks can get naturally worn down was intense.  The beautiful view of the ocean wasn’t a bad thing either.  One of the main attractions that is there is the Queens Head.  Its rock that has worn down and is in the shape of a queens head and neck.  There was a high lookout with a gazebo you could hike too and look out at.  We took the hard way there climbing many steep small steps but the view was so worth it.

Sunday we went to a Jade market which was awesome there were so many vendors selling all types of jewelry and decorations, not just jade.  I feel like if people had the money they would buy most of the stuff if not everything at that market.  You could buy strands of beads to make your own jewelry too.  That night wasn’t as much fun as the afternoon at the market.  We started classes that night and had lots of reading to do.  It was my latest night of homework while I’ve been in college, probably high school too.

The next day I spent the afternoon with Andrew at Dajia park which I have to admit is not the prettiest park but it’s relaxing.  You can walk, bike, or just sit along the river and watch the water and whatever else happens to be in the water.

This afternoon after class we made a visit to a local Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital.  We had a tour of some parts of the hospital including the pharmacy and where they make some of their medicines which is much different than our pharmacies.  They have a bunch of different herbs and even some snakes and mix those up together to make the medicines.  After our tour they had an acupuncture demonstration and four people got to experience acupuncture.  Acupuncture cannot be done on people who are healthy though because they say that you will then get sick.  I was one of the students who had the opportunity to try it though.  I had one needle stuck in my arm to move Qi to my stomach to stop hiccups.  I really think it worked and it was an interesting experience.  It hurt a little but not badly, just like a quick shot.  Then my hand and arm started to feel a little numb, but that ended shortly after the needle was taken out.  A little bit later my stomach started to feel weird and then I got burpy but I haven’t had hiccups even after 2 sodas which is usually something that causes me to hiccup.

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