Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
15Trip End Feb 21, 2011
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I told my cousin that I would wake up early so we could go on the Gondola up the mountain. We had to go early because everyone and their mom are in Taipei vacationing for the New Year. When we got there, you had to wait in a line to get a ticket to wait in another line to buy your ticket. I call it organized chaos. It was an hour wait so we walked down the street and look into some local shops. There was a room where you could perform a Chinese puppet show for people if you knew how. We just used it as a photo opportunity. We also passed a pack McDonalds and the entrance to the Taipei Zoo. I think I will save the zoo until I get back in two weeks. If you looked across the street, you could see a mountain side in the distance. I believe since land is so scarce, they put the cemetery on the mountain side. My great grandparents are buried somewhere over there.
My cousin called me lucky because when we got to the top of the stairs to get on the gondola, the mayor was there passing those red envelopes I was telling you about earlier. We were lucky to see him, but not lucky enough to receive an envelope since we were waiting in line across the way. I suppose he was only giving out a couple bucks at a time anyway. That is what I'm telling myself.
The gondola ride was actually quite long. It took a good twenty to thirty minutes to reach the end. At the mountain top, there were more food vendors so we stopped and had a snack. Afterward, we walked along the path along side of the mountain passing cemetery plots, more temples, tea fields, and tea houses. We picked one of the tea houses and.....had some tea. It was a great view of the city with the seating area hanging over the edge. The tea we drank was from leaves locally grown on the mountain. And there is also a process of brewing and drinking tea. I was watching and learning. You can't drink the first brew and you warm up the tea cups in hot water before using them.
After the ride, we went to a night market where you could eat snake meat and drink its blood. They also served rats, blah. The snake soup was good. It tasted like chicken soup. The meat of snake tasted like a combo between chicken and fish, Not much meat on the bones though.
We walked through an alley where there were lots of prostitutes. Not pretty ones at that. We took the metro to another happening place called Ximen. Lots of young people come here to hang out. To finish out night, we went to a bar westerns go to. The cover charge was 300 Taiwan Dollar, about 9 US. It included a drink. We also got a condom in the red envelope as a gift for the New Year. To get a table at this place, it cost 300 US and it didn't even come with a bottle of alcohol. Rip off. The Chinese girls there were hot though. I might come back later when I was dress more appropriately.