Get Your Travel On ~ Guest Take 2!

Wednesday, January 13

So I'm really starting to get the hang of this tour guide deal over here in Taiwan {shameless shout out...I'd love more could be NEXT!!} One of my fellow Ashland graduates & sorority sisters & world traveler decided that she needed a little Asia in her life and I was more than happy to help her fill that void  {don't lie, you know you've got it too!}

So, Caitlin hopped her little hiney on a plane in Brazil where she's currently teaching, flew to Ohio to visit her family for a couple weeks, jetted off to Taiwan for 6 days (easier said than done with snow storms back home) and is on her way to Honduras as we speak for a missions trip (I wonder why I love this girl haha!)

She arrived, finally, late Wednesday night, but being unable to take Thursday off work, she traveled around Taipei Thursday on her own before I met her after work. We grabbed dinner at the Shilin Night Market and gave Caitlin her first real dose of real Taiwanese food (sorry Panda Express...I love you, but it's just not the same!) before heading back to my house in about a late night getting home at almost 1am with school the next day!

No visit is complete without random men helping me to start my scooter and then requesting pictures with us afterwards!

Friday I taught and Caitlin made best friends with Jet Lag and Air Mattress at my house haha. After school I was helping with an elementary language competition and Caitlin tagged along for the experience. We sampled some dumplings for dinner, walked around town for a while, and called it a night.

Saturday we got to town on Caitlin's bucket list! First I wanted to check out the polling station new my house to see how things were going with the presidential election here {yes I'm nosy!} We waved hello as we passed (with Caitlin thrown on the back of my scooter) as we headed out of town towards the mangroves. On the way we stopped at the small local temple around the corner from my house as well as a larger one on the outskirts of town  to make sure Caitlin had [visit temple] appropriately checked off her list! Once we had checked out the temples, determined our futures, and breathed in our fair share of incense fumes we headed out a little farther to the mangroves. Caitlin was as mesmerized as I was the first time I found them...I'm telling you guys, these things are beautiful!

After our quick morning tour of my town...and of course some 7-eleven goodies along the way, we went home, grabbed our things and hopped on the train headed for Taipei...more bucket list items awaited us! First stop, Longshan Temple! Although I've been here before, I still love to see this amazing temple and learn a little  more and see a little more each time I visit...definitely a must see in Taipei! After the temple we decided  it was time for dinner {another reason I love this girl...she's always ready to eat!} On our way to dinner we  stumbled upon a shop packed full with decorations for Chinese New Year. Oh my goodness, I had never seen so much red/yellow/monkeys/lanterns shoved  into such a tight space before...a  little overwhelming but still fun to check out!

Longshan Temple - Taipei

We finally made it to our restaurant (I love to walk from place to place in Taipei  when they aren't super far instead of the subway to to get a better look at all of it's nooks and crannies!) and to be honest, it was a pretty crappy experience. Taiwan loves all things cutesy and themed, so what better place than Taipei to build The Modern Toilet?! I'm not joking...they have a restaurant themed around toilets! Their sign is a giant commode, the menus are in the shape of poop, the food comes in its own private toilet, and the included desert...chocolate ice cream in a squatty potty...yep they went there! I'm not sure I've ever  laughed so hard while eating at a restaurant before! Needless to say my  green curry looked quite questionable served in a toilet with a side of fake poop!

After dinner we headed back to Shilin Market for a couple things Caitlin wanted to pick up, and spent our evening checking out the vendors, food stands, and artisans at the market.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain...of  course, the day we had planned to be outside all day it would rain. And not just a few sprinkles here and there, but like the heavens opened up type of rain...just great. Have no fear, 7-eleven is here! A quick dash across the street to good ole' 7-eleven not  only provided us with our breakfast for the day, but also some super attractive rain ponchos and rubber flipflops for we were ready to roll! We hopped on a tourist bus  in Taipei and headed north to Yehliu Geopark to checkout what the park & rain had to offer us. The weather wasn't near as nice as last time Tina and I went up, but some things surprisingly stood out more in the rain than when it was dry, so it was fun to see it in both types of weather. While we were there the rain decided it was done for a while and it gave us time to head out further on the peninsula than where most people stopped to turn around and we were able  to explore some less visited paths and caves near the tip. OF COURSE as we are ready to catch the bus home the rain begins to come down with a lovely vengeance so we are a tad wet by the time we catch the bus, but we made it back to Taipei safe {and eventually dry!} rode the HSR home (another bucket list item for Caitlin) and crashed hard with the thought of school early the next day.

Monday morning, with the jet lag behind her, Caitlin came to school with me to see what we were all about here in Taiwan (and to help us write letters to our pen pals back home!) After school we headed to the day market in Hsinchu for dinner & Caitlin's first taste of mochi (she was not a fan!) and one last scooter ride before she had to leave Tuesday morning to more  adventures and warmer weather...until next time Caitlin...Taiwan is waiting!

Check out Caitlin's blog and her posts about her time in Taiwan! {I'll be honest, her posts on Taiwan are much better than my one mushed together post...darn you Thailand & winter break!}