What Year Is It?

Happy New Year my friends!

I hope you rung in the new year with your friends and family and that your year is off to a good start! Let's see about this resolution deal...this year I resolve to travel more (I'm living in Taiwan...check!), eat more (check, check & check), and live each day to it's fullest (always...check!)  Well looks like those are all taken care of! ;)

Ok, but really, on a more serious note (or as serious as I can be) new year's eve this year was a blast! You might have read my previous post about the funky feeling some of these holidays have here in Taiwan {if not you can read it here} but you get enough crazies together and  you can't help but to have fun!

I had to work New Year's Eve day, but my director let me out of work early (score!) and so I ran home, finished packing, and jumped on the next train to Taipei. To my dismay though, that was the last time I was able to move for the next hour and a half...holy crammed buses! I made it to Taipei and headed to Tina's grandparents place to get ready and wait for the other girls. We had dinner reservations for 7 at a "hardcore Taiwanese restaurant" but man was it delicious!

After dinner we began combing the streets for THE perfect spot to watch the fireworks; no building, correct wind direction, places to sit...this was serious! We finally found a spot and settled in amongt the crowds of locals....and then the countdown began!

The firework show was fantastic, we popped our party poppers, sang Auld Lang Syne in the middle of the street, gave the best new year's hugs to each other, and partied our hineys off until 4am....I'd call it a successful night to remember! I'm still confused though...is it 2016 or 105 now?!

The next morning we didn't have school (hallelujah! only our 4th day off since August!) so a group of  us headed out in search of food & adventure. We found both, in the form of a Pizza Hut buffet & climbing Elephant Mountain. Oh the food {and the views!!}

By Sunday we were down from 5 girls to 2 (and then there were none!?!) so Tina and I, having covered most of the super touristy things IN Tapei, rode the metro to the end & boarded  a bus to the very northern tip of Taiwan with not much of a plan to speak of. Only in Taiwan though can you have "not much of a plan" and still see the ocean, walk through a rock bridge, accept a ride from a strange man in a van, & visit a 10 story tall dog  in a single afternoon!

Ok, I'll elaborate a bit! We decided to venture outside of Taipei and see what the northern countryside had to offer when we discovered a natural "rock bridge" on a map and decided to check it out. The bridge was really pretty and unique, but let's face it, you can only spend so much time looking at a rock bridge! We checked our maps again and found a temple boasting a 10 story dog statue about a mile up the road; we walked it. Upon getting to the spot on the map we can't see the dog anywhere (this is when we start thinking we are crazy! How does one lose a 10 story dog?!) We stopped at an electric plant and asked a guard who told us it was about another mile...up the mountain...ugh. We asked if he'd call a taxi and he insisted it would only take us 8 minutes (a mile up a mountain...I think not!) we decided to give it a shot  though. We made it about 6 feet from the guard when he called us back and told us to wait. Next thing we know, another worker pulls up in a company van and chauffeurs us to the front door of the temple, wishes us happiness, and leaves....only in Taiwan!

Breathtaking views walking down the mountain from dog temple

Quick stop && Kung Fu time in front of Chaing Kai-shek Memorial