Well it has been a very busy weekend!
New Year's Eve was Thursday night and I went with my host family to a party near 101 Tower. At midnight we watched the fireworks, which were spectacular but didn't go for very long! But I think it is very expensive just for those few minutes. I also saw part of the concert outside the 101. but I didn't really know who any of the performers were except for when President Ma came out to do a speech at the end!
On Friday I went shopping in Xinyi. We went to Mitsukoshi and Eslite, both of which are massive! I really liked Eslite, a 24 hour bookstore is a great idea! Mitsukoshi has an amazing kids' level with a small outdoor area dedicated to rides and games. This is also a great idea for when you take your kids shopping. There was a massive Christmas tree and lots of street artists and music so it is a very entertaining place...afterwards I bought 3 pairs of shoes and then regretted it slightly because I don't think they will fit in my suitcase!!
On Saturday I went with one of the teachers at school, Candy, to Keelung and Baian Hot Springs Resort. I met her family, who were very friendly and made me feel at home. The Hot Springs were great, very relaxing. You could quite easily spend all day just slipping between pools...I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep! And the resort is set in beautiful lush mountains, so the scenery is great. But after midday it started to rain so we went to Keelung and had lunch with Candy's husband's family, of whom one of the daughters speaks very good English and I know she reads this blog, so - hello! hope you had a good weekend. Thankyou for lunch!
In the afternoon we visited a temple in a cave next to Keelung port. It is an amazing place. I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic though, because to get to one of the rooms we had to crouch down and squeeze through a narrow stone passageway lit by small lights and when we reached the room the air was very close, warm and hard to breathe. A good experience, but it was too dark to take photos. We also climbed up what felt like a million steps above the temple cave to a pretty park overlooking the port. Afterwards we went to a night market called Miaokou. I tried so many different foods but I'm afraid I have absolutely no idea what the names of any of them are! But the icecream was very tasty. When I got home that night I was really tired!
On Sunday I went with Paulina to Longshan Temple, which is an interesting place but really crowded. We took quite a few photos and then went to a reconstructed old Taipei street nearby. That was an educational experience and really interesting, especially learning about the Chinese medicinal herbs and the education system in Taiwan in the early 1900s. We had a late lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Ximending, where the food goes around the middle of the store on a small train! It's great, I love the train and the food is very nice. And pretty healthy too!
In the afternoon Candy and her son joined us in Ximending for a look around and then we went to a place that sells starfruit in ice. It was really nice but I couldn't finish it because I was so full from my Japanese food!
Well this has been a very long blog but that is because it was a very long weekend and now I am very tired! But I am glad I get to see all these things so thankyou to Candy and her family and Paulina :)