Saturday, July 20, 2013

First Day Back in Taipei + Project Finalizing

Today is our first day back in Taipei! It was really weird feeling when we were walking to the university this morning. It felt like we just returned "home"...We had an early start today to head out to NTU's Student Farm. We were all pretty excited, even though we were still exhausted from traveled back yesterday. But we were going to do another farm-work experience: planting rice! We grabbed the trays filled with young rice blades, slipped off our shoes, and took a spot at the plot's edge. The plots were filled with a grey, think, mucky mud that honestly we were all excited to get our feet into. But when I finally placed my foot into the mud, I didn't realize how deep the mud was, as I sank high to my calf. Our task was to delicately and securely place 3 to 5 of the rice blades into the mud at the grid's intersections. The was a video we watch later in the day about current farming practices, and how now there are many machines that do the same job quicker. The machine planted a whole row in a second. I compared this to a total of 18 people sticking the rice one by one, which took many a 2 hours or so. There were a couple of us who unfortunately lost their footing, so they came out of the farm plot with more mud than the others haha! :)

Look at us hard at work :P
Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Steven showing off the rice we were planting!
So after our farm work experience, we headed back to the conference room to enjoy a rice-based lunch. The table was filled with different foods such as some sticky rice, rice noodles, rice dumplings etc. They were all very delicious. We even had 3 different types of standard rice. Ones with longer grains, and varying colors. I knew rice was a very important food staple in Taiwan (and many Asian countries) but I didn't realize how many other foods are derived from rice!
The three different types of rice!

Rice dumpling ( I had this last month when it was the Dragon Boat Festival!)

Taro! one of my favorite treats!
We had some free time after our rice lunch, I honestly can't really remember what we all did, maybe a much need nap? Who knows, but I do know many of us got together for a wonderful dinner! We went to a place that is really popular here in Taipei. I was told that this restaurant is known for business men who want to impress a client, or something like that. And rightfully so, the food was absolutely delicious. Plates just kept coming; it seemed like it was a feast! I pretty much enjoyed everything there (and everything I've tried here in Taiwan), but I came across this one plate, and of course I didn't recognize it, so I thought "must try it!" ... ohhh.. it was the most chewy piece of meat ever. Very rubbery, and I couldn't pin point what it was! So I asked, and to my dismay, it was pig's... intestines. yay...

The array of plates!

And of course we traveled back in style! I love the bike rental system here in Taipei! So easy, just swipe your student id card, and the first 30 minutes is free. Even if you do go over the half hour time, the cost is so cheap, equivalent to a couple cents.

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