Sunday, June 30, 2013

taiwan's history/culture

Although pictures weren’t allowed inside the museums today, it was still a nice time walking around the air-conditioned rooms, learning about some of Taiwan’s culture/art. Our first stop was at the Shung Ye Formosan Aborigines Museum. I never considered Taiwan as having so many different Aborigine tribes. In total, there are 14 different groups  from this island, each with distinguishable physical and cultural characteristics. I think the thing that most stood out to me was the facts that women in most of these tribes were the ones who ran the show. They were looked to for wisdom and decision making. Very different from the history of women status in America and many other countries, where the man was regarded as “higher” in rank. We also saw some tools where the people tattooed their faces! The tools looked like it would hurt so much! These tattoos were regarded as a beauty symbol and womanhood status.

We ended our busy day at the famous Shilin Night Market. This is the busiest and biggest night market in Taiwan, and before coming here, I read so many blogs saying this was a must see. We all tried to not eat a lot of snacks throughout the day so we would still have room for all the yummy food at this market! I was on a mission to try as many things as possible! We got off the bus, and our huge group managed to walk across the street as a pack, but we didn’t stay together long, because maybe only 5 or so minutes into the stalls, we all got separated into smaller groups. It was almost impossible to keep everyone together because of the sea of people; pushing and moving along the tiny crammed street. My group, consisted of mostly the guys so their “man appetite” was calling them to the overabundance of food stalls. So our first mission was to find a good place to stop and eat. In our group was a couple students form NTU, so they knew where the good stuff was located. And it so happens that all of the famous foods were underground! You hop on an escalator and you come upon a huge square area almost like a food court (just 10x more people!) I was warned on the escalator that outside every stall, there were people who would yell at you to try and get you to come over. They were really forceful! Haha, or maybe it was just because I wasn’t use to the excitement and energy these people displayed in order for our business.  But finally we ended up picking one, and many of us had the popular Oyster Omlete, smothered in a famous tangy sauce. It was absolutely perfect. It was neat to see the cooks making your food just a few feet away; you know it’s the fresh real deal. Baker was super excited to get a bowl of Duck Blood… so ofcourse, sticking to my motto from the beginning, I had to try some. It was.. interesting. Some Sticky Tofu was on our table as well, which was another greasy goodness dish. So with all these heavy dishes, we needed something light and refreshing, so our next stop was for dessert, and taste some of Taiwan’s popular Shaved Mango Ice. Absolutely, it hit the spot. Huge mango chunks ontop of shaved ice (infused with mango juice). 

We ended up walking around the stores for a while, and bumped into some of our other people along the way. Of all the stalls with clothes, jewelry, souvenirs, ect…I only spent my money on food. Best purchases of the whole day.

The entrance of the Aborigines museum

In front of the National Palace Museum

now a fun shot!
 And the rest of the photos are from the Shilin Night Market:

Oyster Omelet

Sticky Tofu

The gang!

Candied Fruit

our menu! i'm so glad the other students know Chinese or else I would be so lost! haha

Mango shaved ice

藝術 (art)

Today was a pretty chill day; we were all still recovering from the monstrous hike and walking all day yesterday haha. So we went to the Ceramics Museum! My senior year of high school, half of my classes were ceramic classes so I was excited to see some cool art!! I felt like a real tourist because we were given those headsets that you see people wear to listen to facts about the exhibits. But, we followed our tour guide throughout the museum to see the evolution of the ceramic styles. 
At the end of our tour, we had a few minutes to wonder around the gift shop and grabbed some icecream (it seems that we get icecream any time we see some; it's almost an everyday occurrence haha). But after that, we got to make our own ceramic plate and bowls! I thought we would be throwing a pot (because we watched some videos in the museum of artists changing a lump of clay into a tall beautiful vase), but we used a mold and pounded the clay into it to create the shape. It was simple, but still fun to play arts and crafts again :) Although I couldn't take it back to the states (the firing process wouldn't be done in time) I will end up giving it to Jack, or one of the NTU students. 
The entrance of the museum!

Ms. Husar (my ceramics teacher in highschool) would love this place!
Inside a "kin"
Making our own plates!
After the museum, we headed back to NTU to have some dinner on our own and get ready for a calligraphy class! Some of us went to the student restaurant area, where there are a number of places to choose and eat at. Jess, Jiling, and I all had some potstickers/dumplings for dinner.. but we all saved our appetite for these gigantic icecream crepes that caught our eyes when we were looking at all of the choices. So our dessert was larger than our actual dinner haha! But it was so good! Cheap (as most of the stuff here in Taiwan) and delicious! Perfect!
So the calligraphy class was super interesting! I've never done calligraphy, or even written a Chinese character before, so it was a whole new experience. I was sitting next to Richard, and he has done it before, so his strokes and characters looked perfect compared to my scribbles haha! But I started to get the hang of it: when to push down on the brush, the order of strokes, and how to hold the brush perpendicular to the paper. So many things you had to remember! But it was very intriguing! I want to go buy a brush and ink to bring back to America so I can work on it!

Huge crepe with mango icecream and mango chunks! YUM!

Calligraphy class was so fun! I want to try this more when I get back home!
My attempt! Writing Chinese characters first time! Oh, and some of these characters spell out my Chinese name ("an chi ya")

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Super hikers!

Today was one of the most hot, tiring, and amazing days so far! I absolutely love hiking, so it was so cool to experience hiking of Taiwan's unique mountainous terrain. We headed to Yangmingshan Nation Park, to try and climb Mt. Qixing. This mountain is located on the Datun Volcano Group and is the highest mountain at the rim of Taipei City/Taipei Basin. Also it is the highest dormant volcano in Taiwan. I've been to Yangmingshan before when the grad students took me but last time we took our prof's car to make it up a couple mountains. This time, we were going to experience the elevation change first hand; a more rewarding trip :) It was especially cool because we had two profs with us to point out some of the vegetation and insect species. We made many stops along the trail to see some lizards, insects, and some interesting flowers/plants. There was a loud buzzing sound all throughout the forests, so we eventually found the insects that made them.  They were called cicadas! They are insects that only live for a short time. They come out of their "shells" to feed. One of the profs caught one of them (only males make sound) so this one went crazy!! I felt kind of bad for this little guy, the sound he made was like a distress screech! but at the same time, it was cool to see the big bug up close.
What I found most interesting was the changing vegetation as we moved from the base of the mountain to the top. We started with dense forests, with tall luscious trees, ferns, and a lot of shade cover. It was especially humid today, and for the first half of the hike, it was sticky hot. As we inched closer to our goal, the trees became more and more sparse, with more sunlight peeking through the canopy.  Eventually we hit an area where the trees turn into long shoots of bamboo. The bamboo was so dense, you couldn't see through the brush (and on the way down, we took turn leaning up against the bamboo, it was so dense that it held up our weight!). Also, the wind got very strong as we moved up, so the temperature was super chill, which was a nice break from the humidity. The top of the mountain was such a rewarding experience; we all let out a huge sigh of relief that we made it, and we had a new burst of energy cause we were all excited to see the amazing view!  1120 m above sea level, and we got a 180 degree picturesque view of the ocean, mountains, city, and forests (all available from a turn of the head). The wind was so strong, we all had trouble standing up straight! I was surprised that I had to fight to hold myself up and not fall due to the wind's power! 
The way down was so easy compared to the four hours of hiking at a 70 degree angle. It seemed that it took us only an hour to make it down. At the bottom we stopped at some sulfur deposits, and the dormant volcano site. It definitely smelled like it! After breathing the clean air from all the trees, the pungent smell coming from the ground shocked all our noses haha.
At the very bottom, we all stopped for lunch, and a much needed icecream bar. Mango icecream was the perfect treat after our work! Mangos are really expensive in the States, so I've been trying anything I see with the words mango in it.
the entrance, I don't think we knew what we were in for..
this dog was cheering us on!
 almost there!
on top of some sulfur crystals (on the way down)
at the top!! enjoying the view and wind!

The bus ride to the Beitou Hot Springs was so quiet because all of us were taking a much needed nap! The hike pooped us out!! But we were only halfway done with the day, and next on our agenda was the famous hot springs! The museum was very cute. There was a Japanese style room with the sliding doors and bamboo mats where many performances were held for the bathers. Also, we learned that Beitou was famous for the many old Taiwanese movies that were filmed here. So we watched some clips from a very very old movie. It was comical to see the overacting and funny actions of the actors haha.
After the museum, we walking up the hill a little ways to the actually Thermal Valley, which is the source for the hot spring's water. The hot spring in the valley is so-called Green Sulfur Spring. There is only two green- sulfur-spring found in this world, and Beitou Termal Valley is one of them! It was very beautiful! When standing at the railing, and looking out onto the water, it was like you were in a sauna! It made the already humid/hot weather seem cooler. There was steam surrounding and rising from the light blue water. The pH value of this Green Sulfur Spring is between 1.2 - 1.6... I dare not to imagine how painful it is if one skin is in contact with the water!
at the Beitou Hot Spring Museum (we had to take off our shoes and wear these slippers)
Thermal Valley (Beitou)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

海洋 (ocean)

Today was all about Taiwan's coastline! I was super excited for this day, because I have always had an interest in the ocean/rivers (was thinking of majoring in marine biology a couple of years ago). We got in the bus to head to the Chao-Jing Ocean Center. It was pretty special because this place isn't open to the tourists and public, so it was kind of like a behind the scenes tour! We went downstairs to view the rows of tanks, which were filled with an array of different species. On the far side of the basement, there was a huge tank that lined the whole wall. There swimming around were the biggest fish I have ever seen! They were gropers! these fish were slow swimmers, with a periodical swish of their fin to creepily glide through the water. But they were huge!! As big as my arm span, or even bigger! I think what really got me was the fact that there were cases where they attacked humans... but they were still so cool to see. We weaved through the rows of tanks to see many different types of fish, crabs, and corals. We found Nemo! Actually a lot of Nemo's and Dory's; they were just hiding out here in Taiwan! We even got to go into a special room where they kept some of the deep sea animals, such as the gigantic crab. the room was kept very cold, to mimic the temperature of the bottom of the sea. It was lighted with hues of blue and some green light, which made it kind of hard to see clearly. It was a neat thing to see; a little glimpse of what it is kind of like at the bottom.

So after another lunch box, and a little hike around the water's edge, we hopped back into the bus to make our way to the intertidal zone. Along the way, we had to stop and borrow some funky looking boots, which were needed to wear in order to prevent us from slipping everywhere on the rocks. We also grabbed a drink that was derived from seaweed! it was actually really refreshing; but it took me a little bit of time to get over the "jelly" texture.

We finally made it to the tide pools! It was cool to compare these tidepools to the ones I frequently went to in California. Here, there wasn't any sand inbetween the rock features, there was just a huge strand of the rocky surface. We had some mishaps where some of the students slipped on the unstable rocks, and got some scrapes and cuts, but nothing too serious. I was surprised at how many sea creatures we found! Sooooo many crabs scurried across the rocks, and hit in the crevasses. Also the numerous brittle stars was unique to me. The tidepools in CA didn't have as many sea stars, just a lot of sea anemones (which I didn't find any here).

the group before heading to the ocean center (with a beautiful view of the water!)
Me and Baker at the intertidal zone!

Brittle star!
Taiwan has so many crabs! I was amazed at how many we saw scurrying around the rocks
So unique...
Sea cucumber, when you picked it up, it would squirt water at'cha!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

飯 (rice!)

Today was an early start! We all had to meet at the university by 7:45! In order to try and escape the sun's peak, because today we were going to learn how to harvest rice at the NTU's farm! Last month, I always passed by the farm on my way to my lab, but never got to walk in it and explore. So being able to actually see it first hand and working the fields was too cool! Each of us got to wear a unique hat that most of the farmers use to keep the sun's rays reaching their skin. So with our hat in place, and a long hook looking tool, we were off to the field. It was surprisingly easy to cut the rice shoots from their base, just a few swipes of our 'slasher' tool, and you had a handful of rice shoots. But, I have so much appreciation for the famers who do this all day long, because it was very tiring after only a couple of times. After this, we were all very hot and sweaty, so we cooled off up to the conference room to prepare for some lectures.
On our agenda we were going to learn about the geography of Taiwan, the flora and vegetation of Taiwan, and finally a little bit about the marine biodiversity. They were really interesting, but I think the early morning of outdoor work was felt among everyone. Our breaks were spent mostly trying to fit in a nap before the next lecturer. And we needed to because for tonight, we have planned a night hike/frog observation!
So at around 7:30, we all headed to the mrt station to take the train to a bus stop, that then took us to the forest! I didn't realize this before we got here, but this was the same area some of the grad students took me too almost a month ago! It was cool to experience it again, with a different guide and company. Our guide was a frog expert! Throughout the hike, he knew which frog calls matched which species; he also was able to imitate (pretty accurately) the different frog calls to try and lure their voices out of the bush. We found so many different types! Even a snake passed our path, which got some screams and commotion from some of the students haha. I posted some more photos below!

the rice field (left) and Ben with a huge stack! (right)

Jessica, Kylee, and me!

The Bufo bankorensis (an endemic toad)

Taipei tree frog (leaping right at the moment I took the picture haha)

Monday, June 24, 2013

learning "the know" (day 2)

Its the second day! It seems that I've known these people for so much longer than only one day! But everyone is so nice and welcoming, that we are just all one family it seems haha. So today is officially the start of the BACT program! We all got to the university's conference room that we were in yesterday to have the opening ceremony. We all got to meet the professors that will be accompanying us to various future trip destinations, as well as the director of CIAEAE. after this, we all walking past the famous Palm Tree Blvd to the other side of the campus to the Gallery of NTU History. We had a  guided tour about the history of this university. It was so neat to see some of the actual items, desks, notebooks from the first few baby years of this college. Afterwards we needed to get some of our energy out, so Jack created a scavenger hunt for everyone! This was in order to help everyone get to know where some places are located on campus, as well as have some fun! We all got split up into groups, and we were given a sheet of where we had to be at certain times (in order to compete in mini games and get some points!) It was very hot already (only 10 o'clock!), so our team kind of took it casually walking to and from all of our check points. But it was super fun! Some games included water balloons, getting dizzy, and stealing random people's socks... haha :)
But after this, we all herded into the room to get ready for some lectures. The rest of the day we learned about the fauna and insects of Taiwan. I love seeing the different pictures that the lecturer provided in the lesson. The biodiversity of Taiwan is amazing! So many different species, each unique and special; sometimes I just have to give a pat on the back to God for being able to think up and create all these different species! So cool!

Only tree of us didn't know Chinese, so we had to come back to the university after dinner to take a Chinese course! We learned  the four basic tones, and the different "vowels" of Chinese! Also a song that I posted below, to learn how to read pinyin (which is the use of the English letters to create the 'sound' of the Chinese words). I think we all three will memorize this song eventually, we sang it many times. It's just cute haha!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

First day of BACT

Today was the first day of the BACT program! I can't believe that all of the trip planning, and preparation is finally done with so we can enjoy and learn with these students! I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the other participants to Taiwan, for a month now.
We all meet at the dorms for a quick hello and then we were off to the university's conference room. There we all got to have breakfast with each other, as well as introduce ourselves with our presentations. It was so cool listening and learning about where everybody came from. There were people from Singapore, China, Australia, England, Canada, USA, and also here in Taiwan. All these students, all coming for the same interests. It makes our world seem even smaller. It was so easy talking with everyone here, it seemed everybody instantly clicked!
So after the self-introductions and announcements, we had lunch at the mrt's Taipei Main Station stop. This was a huge food court on the top level; so many people! This is one of the busiest stops because it is also the stop for the high speed railway, and the train.
It was starting to drizzle a little bit as we all made our way out of the station towards the National Taiwan Museum.  This building was so pretty! Inside there was a lot of exhibits about the history of the island, the culture, what people dressed back then, ect. A little bit more knowledge of Taiwan was a good way to start off the program! We were then going to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, but unfortunately the rain turned violent with some pretty big thunder and lightning strikes in the sky. So we retreated back underground to the mrt to head back to the university area for some dinner and last minute things.
Some of the students who are from Taiwan wanted to show us Shiling market place, which is really popular for young people (our age!) It was almost like a mini times square, but bustling with so many people and shops! there were many alleys that had a huge row of movie theatres and different food stalls. Music was everywhere! Such a neat atmosphere! Our big group split into smaller groups, and we were off. My group found an ice-cream stand that serves the soft serve in a cone, seems normal enough, until they hand you the cone and the ice-cream is longer than your face! A bunch of us got some, I tried the mango flavor! It was fun to try and balance the ice-cream so it won't topple over, and also eat it fast enough so the humidity and hot weather won't melt it! I posted some pictures from our first day below!
lunch at the mrt station! This is Jiling  (we both tried some squid/noodle dish!)

the entrance to the museum

the very big ice-cream! It was already starting to drip down the side!

Friday, June 21, 2013

紅樹 (the mangroves)

My last trip with the grad students. So the other day we traveled along the Dansui river towards the mangroves! We were on a mission to survey some more trees, and these labeled trees were at different sites along the river, and also in the mangrove forest.  We first made our way to the river greenway where there are miles and miles of biking trails and walkways to enjoy! There were a total of seven of us in our group, some other grad students as well as some undergrad volunteers. We all rented some bikes from a shop along the river; in order for us to finish the "land" surveying before noon (when the tide goes down, so the mangroves are accessible). It was so nice to be back on a bike, that's what I'm missing here for sure because usually the summer is my biking season! But we made our way to 3 separate areas along the river, where there were trees that had a number. We had to find the labeled trees and measure the circumference, which was then recorded. Below is what we were searching for!
We finished this task, then made our way back to the start to return the bikes, and then hoped into the car to go to the mangroves! We parked near the site, and got out to change into the appropriate attire. This included a sort of overalls, which had built in knee-high boots, and plastic fabric. There were draw strings that rested on your shoulders to hold up the whole suit. The mangrove forest was so unique. We had to climb over a fence to reach the forest "floor" which was actually a think layer of mud. So these trees are rooted in a river bed, and when the tide goes down, we can go trudge through the muddy bottom. There were so many crabs! Even more crabs then when I went to the tide pools in California! They scurried around our feet, and burrowed down into the mud whenever we were coming. It was so cool! The trees were very low, so we had to watch where we moved our heads. Mangrove in Chinese means literally red bark, and its true! All of the mangrove tree's bark on the inside is a deep red color. It was so hard to walk around though; I think I know what quick sand would feel like. It was pretty much like that. If you stood in one place too long, or if you happened to step in a soft point, you would just sink, and your boot would get sucked down into the mud. Many of us got stuck, including me (3 times haha). It was a workout trying to get out once your boot got stuck! We used sticks and the support of each other's arms to try and hoist ourselves up and out.
 At the very end of the day, I actually did get heat stroke! never felt that before! it was 91 degrees, but the 'humid-est' day ever! I think because we were wearing heavy plastic suits, and trudging through knee deep mud (and the fact that I had a lot of trouble not getting stuck lol), the heat got to me. It was okay, just felt dizzy for a little bit, but after we got out of the mangroves, it was all good. Everybody got some sport drinks to help refuel their system and the shade was our best friend, haha :)
So below I posted a picture of the mangrove forest! As you can see all of the muddy ground cover! And here are some of the volunteer students in our wonderful outfits.

Oh, and I found this guy on one of the mangrove trees! It is called the Asian Long-Horned Beetle, or celestial cows (天牛) in Chinese. It is found in the mangrove forests because it likes to burrow and makes holes in the mangrove's bark in order to provide a place for their larvae to stay. The larvae actually eat the tree, and as a result, the tree eventually dies. So they are an infestation here in Taiwan. The females can actually get up to around 1.5 inches! They are huge in my book! So interesting to see; I've never seen anything like this guy before!

So this mini trip was in the middle of the week. But the last day of work was bittersweet, we all grabbed lunch as one of the last things we would do together. We found an Indian restaurant not far from the university, and it was delicious! I was definitely craving some curry! the rice that came with it was shaped like a heart, which I thought was adorable! Afterwards, we went back to the lab to cool off (it was at the heat peak of the day) and wait until the sun gets a little lower in the sky. We then borrowed bikes and made our way to NTU's animal farm to see some of the cows and others. So after seeing the cows and some vet students, we went to a shop on campus where they only sell products that come from the university's farm! So there was homemade ice-cream and milk from the cows we saw not too long ago.  I love the fact that NTU sells their own products to the students. But after we had our snack, we headed back to finish up our work. It was hard saying goodbye to these guys, they have helped me beyond words. Showing me around, teaching me about their work, explaining the culture and customs here in Taiwan, ect... I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to welcome me 4 weeks ago. Still, I can't believe that I am officially done with part 1, now I'm anxiously awaiting all the other students to arrive in Taipei!!! The BACT program starts tomorrow! Update you guys soon!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Halfway Through!

Hello! I cannot believe it, but I have one more week of the internship, then the BACT program starts! I can't wait to meet everyone! I have been getting a lot of emails lately from the program's director/corespondent here at NTU; about last minute details, what to bring, itinerary, etc. In one of the emails, he sent out a list of who will be going, and there are a couple people from Europe, Singapore, USA, china, and also from here in Taiwan. So stoked! But, with all the excitement about the program, it also means that I'm nearing my trip's halfway mark. Time has flown so fast; a month has past and I already have a special place in my heart for this island.

So since I have been living here, I really haven't gone to all of the "touristy" spots. Only because I have been busy with work, and just everyday life. The places I have gone were kind of off the beaten path. So this weekend, one of my good friends from church took me all over Taiwan to find some of the toursity spots! We were on a mission to visit these three spots before we had to turn in for the night. We took the mrt, starting at the Gongguan station (near the university) and made our way to Taipei City Hall stop, which is near our destination, the famous Taipei 101 building. But, we first wanted to go to National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, which is a huge area that is in the surrounded by the city. It houses two temples, and one gigantic monument. The whole area was surrounded by these white walls that were decorated on the top with blue Chinese awnings.  Inside, there was absolutely beautiful. A long pathway cut the area in half, with the two identical temples on either side, and at the end was the prevalent monument building. There was some "Discovery channel army" display going on in the entrance, so there was a lot of people crowding around to see the tanks, and weapons. But that was okay, because then there weren't as many people near the actual monument. I was in awe. The amount of detail on some of the statues, and roofs of these buildings were amazing. This was only our first stop, but I think it was my favorite.

We then jumped in a taxi (they are everywhere! maybe not as much as new york, but pretty close!) and headed to the Taipei 101 tower, which was only a couple minutes away, but because it was the weekend, it was crazy driving there. I still can't get over how crazy the roads are here. I would be so scared going out and actually driving, the motorcycles zoom in every crevasse (no wonder why the driving age is a little higher than in the USA; 18 yrs old). Tallest building I have ever seen, when we got to the base of the tower, the whole building wouldn't fit in my camera frame, haha! But pretty much the tower is a huge high-end shopping center. The stores included Prada, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana,  and other places I would never be able to buy anything from lol. But we had to buy a ticket to go up on the elevator. The elevator, is actually the fastest elevator in the whole world! We went from the base floor to the 91st in 46 seconds if i remember right. It was actually the smoothest elevator I've been on... in fact, I didn't even think we were moving until my ears were popping! Just like going up in the air on an airplane, but it was so weird!!! At the top, it was so neat. There were many shops where you could buy souveniers and such, they even had an ice-cream shoppe, so i tried a little taste :). But the view was so cool. Taiwan does have trouble with smog sometimes, so it was alittle hazy. But it seemed like we were directly looking down at all of the building's rooftops. So this is what a bird sees! We walked around the whole floor, there was even a little area where you could go outside, so we took a peek. At one side, there was a sign that showed a picture of who i thought looked a lot like the actor Will Smith. And sure enough, it was haha. It turns out him and his son came to this tower a month ago! I guess a lot of people here know who they are, because the Smith's got a cool little poster to commemorate their stay here lol. On the way down we had to walk down a couple flights of stairs and floors to be able to use the elevator. But what I thought was pretty cool is that the floors where people had to go through to get down, there were many high end jewelry shops and high end food shops as well. Who wouldn't want to work here! that would be the coolest job to say you work on one of the top floors at this tower, selling food or necklaces! But anyways, we headed back to the mrt to try and make it to one more place, Dansui!

Dansui is an area right next to the river, it has many seafood specialty shops and stalls, as well as a lot of stores with little nicknaks and such. We were really hungry so we first found a small place to eat, I had some seafood fried rice, something simple.  Then we walked around, to look at the shops and food stalls. There was one thing that looked pretty awesome. There was soft serve icecream, but the height of this icecream was proabably 2 feet tall!!! It was amazing to see so many people walking around with this cone, and not dropping any of the icecream! Next time i'll get one for sure! But the lights on the water were beautiful. There were still ferries out and about, even though it was already dark. There was even a concert going on near the end of the shops. Dont know who it was, but there were a lot of screaming fans in the audience. So I got a pic from the side of the stage, just look below. We were about to leave but we noticed that every one was just standing still, almost as if they were waiting for something to happen. So we stopped and what do you know, there were fireworks out on the water! I guess because I'm going to miss 4th of July fireworks in America, this was my replacement. But they were so close! Only a couple meters away was the floating 'islan' that housed all of the fireworks. I've never been so close to fireworks before, I guess usa is a little more stricter with regulation the use of these things. But they were a perfect ending to am awesome day!
the entrance to the memorial!

Taipei 101!

the view from the 91st floor!