The China Post - - LOCAL -

Be­fore we went to Tai­wan we thought it might be like Hong Kong: a mas­sive ce­ment mega­lopo­lis. But when we got to Taroko Na­tional Park we were amazed at how well Tai­wan was able to pre­serve its nat­u­ral re­sources. It was one of the lush­est forests we’ve been to; po­etic with all the wil­low trees and gush­ing wa­ter­falls sur­rounded by pris­tine na­ture and fresh air. It was so ru­ral with ter­ri­fy­ing drops to the left and right of us as we snaked through the roads to the park. The stu­dents of Ts­ing Hua Uni­ver­sity helped us tour through the park as part of a con­fer­ence off­site. They were so friendly and their English was very pol­ished.

Af­ter we made it to Taipei, we found the mas­sive city we had an­tic­i­pated with amaz­ing public tran­sit that we can­not fathom on the West Coast of the United States. The trains were fast and di­rect and led us to the best food. We dined on won­der­ful steamed dumplings (小籠包), and drank bit­ter­sweet bit­ter melon juice at Shilin Night Mar­ket.

It was our first time try­ing a dragon fruit and it was an amaz­ing com­bi­na­tion of tastes like some­thing be­tween a straw­berry and a kiwi. The lo­cal Taipei peo­ple were very friendly, but know­ing Man­darin was also help­ful in get­ting around in Taipei. Ev­ery­one was very re­spect­ful and fol­lowed the rules of queue­ing, and there was no push­ing. As tourists we felt per­fectly safe.

At one point in the trip we did have a long­ing for Amer­i­can food. We are big fans of Ken­tucky Fried Chicken (KFC), but we found an even bet­ter thing in Tai­wan! The KLG with a plump chicken on the sign de­liv­ered a juicy chicken with taste so much more amaz­ing than its U.S. coun­ter­part, KFC. The Colonel should re­ally learn this new recipe.

We were also amazed at the wide range of things you could ac­com­plish at each 7Eleven, from eat­ing a tra­di­tional break­fast to buy­ing bus tick­ets and mail­ing let­ters.

Eye glasses are amazingly stylish and cheap com­pared to how they are in the United States and we pur­chased four pairs of glasses so we could each have plenty of unique styles for our re­turn to the United States.

But the trip wouldn’t have been com­plete with­out check­ing out the Na­tional Palace Mu­seum and see­ing the de­lec­ta­ble Meat-shaped Stone and of course the Jadeite Cab­bage.

When we have a chance in the near fu­ture we will visit again for the great cul­ture, food, sites and peo­ple.

Horn Cour­tesy of Daniel and De­bra

Daniel, right,

and De­bra Horn Tai­wan’s night from San

mar­ket. Fran­cisco visit

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