Taiwan Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
Day one may have been one of the longest days any of us have seen in a long time. A this is being written we have been moving for almost 36 hours and still haven’t reached our hotel yet. We saw a memorial to Chang Chia Shek that included at least 200 statues of the the “Father of Taiwan”.
Three square meals of airline food was not fun, but the fishhead soup at dinner made up for it.
Through the traveling today, we learned about the terrain of
The number one attractions that has made a great impact on the group was the environmental beauty that the nation provides.
After a long refreshing sleep A-team woke to a new day and proceeded to get educated in the history of Taiwanese business. We made our way through the expansive campus of
We found the lecture on
Following the business lecture a full tea ceremony with step by step explanations was provided at the University.
For the morning of the third day we bid goodbye the University and headed North towards
New Food-Taiwan food is served, from our experience family style, on a lazy Suzan.
After breakfast we went to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (tsmc, the lower case is intentional as it better fits with the fung-shui priciples in Taiwanese and Chinese culture) in the
After this we went to the visitor’s center within the science park. We saw a presentation on the history and purpose of the park. We then were taken on a tour of the park. Over 400 tech companies make this park home and Taiwan has built more parks based on this idea to fill the need.
After this we went to National University Chiao Tong. The University boasts the Eco-home. The Eco-home included devices for better living through innovation in tech and computer science. Demonstrations included the systems of the Eco-home that use technology to facilitate communication between the occupants for more fluid living. An exercise bike that simulates real world experience with a real motion and virtual tours of various cities. The projected use for this technology is for elderly and poorer folks to be able to experience other places at less expense and expenditure of energy than real travel.
We then viewed a lecture on trading stock in a wise and productive way.
After this we went to eat at a Taiwanese restaurant. We then went to a fisherman’s wharf in
Museum- The Taiwan museum contained items mostly all collected from the dynasties of
The two most famous sculptures in the museum are the Jade Cabbage and a succulent piece of pork called the Meat-Shaped Stone. The cabbage is carved out of a solid piece of Jade and includes a katydid and locust carved onto the top. The meat stone is so realistic that we really wanted lunch after the museum visit. Other notable exhibits included some intricate and amazing pottery, and scrolls of beautiful ancient Chinese writing that stretched out the length of an entire room. The scrolls were stamped by the emperor and indicate the age of the scrolls. Stamps were also used to identify the artist or owner of various pieces of art.
Teipei 101--Freedom Square-In all of the governmental monuments and spectacles in the
The statue stands more than 40 feet tall. The remaining statues of the former President have been relocated to his current burial grounds at Xiu-Jou. All other statues of the former leader were removed from public display and placed at his final resting place in the tranquil setting in the mountains that he had always enjoyed.
The Modern Toilet is a wonder. It is located in
Also, by paying extra money, customers can have their drink served in a container that looks like a urinal
This was definitely an experience, a good one.
After eating at the Modern Toilet we went to the Shinlin Night Market. Some of us got a massage at the beginning while a few of us went into the market and started shopping. Eventually we all went into the market and shopped. The Night Market is a place with many streets with legitimate businesses along the sides and illegitimate vendors in the middle. One can buy all types of products including food, clothes, jewelry, and souvenirs. It’s different from regular department stores in that a person can bargain with the vendors a lot easier and get fairly good prices for many different items.
Visiting the electronics swap meet is something not to be missed.
Some things about city life are the same no matter where you are. Traffic is one of those inevitable facts of life. After fighting rush hour traffic we finally made it to the hotel and then to dinner. The government requires foreigners to check in to the hotel with their passport within an hour of arriving in the country.
Day 6 Friday 9/11. Factory Tour and USST.
Coca cola factory tour the Coca Cola factory processing tour was very enlightening, since they provided information on the variation of the U.S cola and the Asia Cola. Apparently, the U.S version is manufactured with Corn Syrup ands the
Lunch, well lunch was semi-impressive. The food was typical Cantonese food, which was made of eggplant, chicken, tofu, and rice. We were accompanied by the USST students which we had met for the first time at the Coca cola plant. The USST students were slightly shy and slow to warm up. But after a bit of one on one chatting they began to open up.
USST after a semi attractive meal and quick detour back to the Coca cola factory (for some misplaced sunglass), and about 35 minutes of commuting, we had arrive to the renowned USST campus. At the University we were personally guided by the students around the campus, and taken to the faculty room were our lecture on the subject Chinese economy. The lecture was related on the multi structural level that the Chinese economy and government abides by. Essentially the lecture material demonstrated how the economy is tightly run by the government and that the lives of its citizens are highly controlled and monitored by the socialist government. Well besides civil control, it was highly publicized that the government in order to increase in power and revenue, will essentially do anything in order to achieve super power status in the next 10 years. This is done by providing tax incentives and subsidies that would allure companies into coming to china for a low cost production of their product.
Going to a club (M2 at Plaza 66) well after an excruciating and long day, we all as a group decided on some R & R, by heading one the local clubs located at the Plaza 66 shopping complexes at Shanghai. The nightclub was packed to capacity, with lovely waitress and friendly bartenders. The refreshments were affordable and the music greatly entertaining to the diverse crowd in attendance that night.
Day 7 Saturday 9/12.
The Chinese government has a policy that most of the nation’s museums should be free to the public. This is a great way to promote cultural education, and we only had to wait about 20 minutes to go inside.
The architecture of museum is arraigned like a department store with five floors. We started at the 5th floor. The floor had a currency display with the various types and shapes of coins used in the vast country over the centuries. We also seem the money of different dynasties. Each currency has different shape and reflects the culture and the way of life. It separate to different room and introduce the culture of ancient china. For example jade. There are many kinds of use for Jade. One is for protection of peoples’ health. The other is only for the emperor. If other people use it in certain designs, called
For lunch we had Dim Sum. We were told this was a little different than normal dim sum and was more local to
Yu Garden and bazaar " A traditional Chinese garden is so much more than just a garden. It should have buildings, rocks, animals, water, trees, couplets for decoration, and many other elements. They were places for rich politicians to escape from city life. Walls, doors, and winding paths make the garden feel even larger than it really is and the walls are one of the most important features of the garden. A few of the walls have dragon sculptures along the top, but they aren’t quite dragons. Having dragon sculptures would be a crime punishable by death since only the emperor could have them. Real dragons have 5 toes. These only had three toes.
There is a very beautiful garden there are a lot decoration by dragon but actually is not really dragon because dragon only own by emperor and the owner of garden design the animals only have four hand therefore it not dragon. Also the most important part of garden is the wall blocking views to the outside. Without the illusion created by the wall the garden would not appear to be so big.
After a wonderful lunch we went to shopping and we really enjoy bargaining that is so much fun. And we got a lot of tradition clothes which we also wear that to take an old picture. We wore the hats we bought. That was fun. The hat with the pony tail represents the fashion of the Ching dynasty.
We stopped at a recently revitalized arts community before heading to the French quarter for dinner. It used to be a blighted residential area but the government worked to bring new life to the area by turning it into a trendy hub for local artists. There were some cafes and pubs there too. It was the sort of trendy area you might expect to find near
The Era show: The Intersection of Time was an amazing experience. It was an acrobatic show that also commented on much of Chinese culture and history. It included stilt walking, which is popular during the Lantern’s Day Festival, juggling ceramic pottery, and imitating a space walk on a giant spinning rig. The finale was when 7 motorcycles all rode around together in a large metal sphere.
At the end of the day most of us went out for massages. It was a nice end to a very long day.
Day 8 Sunday 9/13.
The water village was something different than what we have been used here in
After going through the market place we ate at a local restaurant with some extremely good food while some local singers sang to us for ten yuan. A local fortune teller also wanted to tell our fortune, but none of us were interested.
We then rowed on a boat by a local gentleman through town and enjoyed the scenery…what a great time! After this we went to
We had a little bit of a different dinner experience tonight by going to a Japanese restaurant. The first major difference was having to take off our shoes before entering into our enclosed booth-like room where we sat on something like a bench, only much softer. The food was splendid and many of us enjoyed some warm Saki…yum!
Today we went to a university and were taught about Chinese culture and holidays. Much of what was taught we had learned and experienced in
The afternoon was spent viewing the Shanghi Stock Exchange. The exchange was a vast room full of computers but very few people working on the floor. Our expectations were of a busy floor but the whole process is done through agents and computers.
This morning we ate our last breakfast in
After arriving in
After dinner, we went to the famous Silk Alley, where we were able to bargain for great deals on "name brand" items (at least they said they were), as well as other trinkets and items. Some of us bought things, while some of us just saw what thee was to buy for the next time we will come back before leaving for L. A. It was a lot of fun.
Today we started off the day by eating breakfast the hotel. They have a very good buffet with a variety of food, traditional Chinese as well as European and American. This is due to the fact that it is European hotel with a predominantly European clientele.
After eating breakfast we went to the
The campus is beautiful and spacious. There are plenty of dorms for the students as well as facilities for their learning and enjoyment. Portions of the 2008 Olympics were held at the campus as well.
When we arrived at the Sinosteel Corporation, we were immediately greeted by their staff and taken to their offices on the 37th floor. There we were introduced to their company, their business model, and what they do. They are state-owned and one of the top steel companies in
Also, the view from the top was spectacular. However, after our time on the 37th floor we went downstairs to a semi-garden in the SinoSteel grounds. Then we left for our next adventure...
At the very front of
After, led us through the first gate into the
This led through a courtyard to another temple-like building, which we went through that also led to another courtyard more awesome than first. By the time we got to the third one we arrived at the "throne-room" of the Emperor and Emperess, who came in from the back gate. Since this building did not contain an opening in the back, it appeared this was the end...so we thought. By going around the "throne-room" we were led into another courtyard with more buildings. There are almost 9,000 rooms, this city had numerable palaces, and a population of 40,000 during its heyday! This was in fact a very huge city. Time did not allow us to see every part of this city; that would probably take a day or two. Nonetheless, what we saw was breath-taking, awe-inspiring, and full of history that would take years to learn and comprehend...what an experience!
Day 13 Fri
About an hour outside of
About an hour outside of
A long ride back to
We played a basketball game with executives of the China Steel company. No one in the group was ready for what we faced. Most of the players towered over us and clearly had played together quite a bit. Giving it the old college try
After the game the CEO of China Steel, Dr Wei, invited us all to dinner. We were seated at one of the most impressive dinners of the trip. Never did any glass get empty long and everything was provided down to a small plate with some the finest cigarettes available. The Chinese have a wheat and rice alcohol that is over 100 proof and every few minutes someone would rise and propose a toast. Respect dictates that one must oblige. To toast the lower one can clink glasses indicates the amount of respect for the toaster. The dinner ended with gifts for the most impressive performers in the game and Michelle and Edgar were honored.
Day 14 Sat
Today we drove outside of
After climbing the Great Wall and eating lunch, we went to the Ming Tombs. This is a very large, yet beautiful site containing the burial place of all those in the Ming dynasty minus three emperors. Though it did not have as an impressive looking appearance as the
2008 Olympic Site
We then drove to the famed Olympic Village that housed the masses of people from all over the globe who came to
Not very far from there are the renowned facilities, the Water Cube (where the swimming and diving exhibitions were held), the Bird's Nest (where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games took place), as well as other Olympic buildings for other Olympic venues were held. While we did not go in to any of these facilities, just knowing we were in a place where a crucial part of Olympic history took place was inspiring in and of itself.
After this we did what we do best...eat and drink.
After this some of us went to Ho Hai to experience the nightlife while others of us were to tired to do anything but go back to the hotel, pack our suitcases in preparation for leaving, and go to bed
Day 15 Sun
Silk Alley. This last shopping opportunity in
Local Family Lunch and Visit. We then were taken to a local families’ house to have lunch. There we were treated to lunch that regular people eat although it is doubtful that the locals drink ginger alcohol in the middle of the day, but who knows. The food was good and filling and we cleaned all the plates.
After lunch we entered rickshaws and traveled down the alleys of
Pandas. No trip to
After a packed day we are ready to head for home the trip was mare packed than a day of work and classes and most of the crew is ready for a vacation from vacation. Almost every day we were involved in four or more activities and every meal, save one, was authentic food. Of the food we saw many similar dishes but no meal was prepared in quite the same way.