Getting there ...
Although we've went back to Taiwan regularly in the past 20+ years, it has
been 10 years ago (trip to Korea in 2005)
since we were with our families for Chinese New Year. Since the school's
winter break week coincided with the Chinese New Year this year, we decided to
take a trip back to Taipei to spend some time with our families (otherwise it
would be even more difficult to get together for CNY after Linus and Iris go to
With the Eva Air midnight flight, we arrived in Taiwan in the
early morning more than an hour ahead of scheduled time, so we had plenty of
time to relax at the airport while waiting for my parents to pick us up.
- National Taiwan Univeristy
After breakfast and a short break, we
decided to go to NTU campus to take a walk so we would not get too bored and
fall asleep. Both Waonyu and I are NTU alumni. Although we did
nor walk far enough to my department (Electrical Engineering), it was good
to tell Linus and Iris some old stories and show them around the campus of
the best university in Taiwan.
We went to watch the movie
"Birdman" after lunch and coffee/tea break. It turns out Birdman won the
Academy Award for Best Picture (and Best Director, Best Original
Screenplay, and Best Cinematography) one week later.
Second Day (Chinese New Year Eve 2/18) ...
It's our tradition that we need to
worship our ancestors at home on Chinese New Year Eve. The ritual
includes changing new red papers, preparing tributes, praying with incense,
and burning paper money for our ancestors, etc.
- Chinese New Year Eve Dinner
We had our Year Year Eve Dinner at the
Taipei World Trade Center
Club (at 33F). It was a luxuious banquet with a lot of exotic food
(however, alomst every dish had something that I could not eat, so it ended
up that we had to special order a simple/plain fried rice for me...).
The legal drinking age is 18 in Taiwan , so Linus could enjoy a few shots of
The Third Day (Chinese New Year 2/19) ...
- Q Sqaure (京站時尚廣場 )
We went to Q Sqaure to have lunch with Woanyu's family. Q Square
is a six-story mall crammed with shops, restaurants and a cinema adjacent
to Taipei Main MRT/HSR/Bus station. It opened in 2009 and in
fact I did not know of its existence until now...
We took MRT back to Woanyu's home in Shihlin. The
mini playground under the MRT track was still an attraction to the kids.
The Fourth Day ...
- XiMenDing (西門町)
XiMenDing was the busiest downtown
district when we were still students in Taiwan 30 years ago. It has
experienced ups and downs as Taipei City developed towards the Eastern
District and away from Ximending in the 1990's, and it
has been transformed into a pedestrian area since the 2000's,
prohibiting the entrance of vehicles on weekends and national holidays, a
move that attracted young consumers and brought back business.
was good to walk along the familiar streets (although I was quite
disoriented to be honest) and did some shopping in the mix of different
- Elephant Mountain (象山) and Taipei 101
The top of Elephant Mountain provides one of the best views of Taipei
skyline. It has been on my list to visit in Taipei for so many years,
and finally we had the chance to hike the trail. We waited after
sunset since it was a cloudy day so that there wasn't going to be a dramatic
sunset. It was a short but rather steep trail to the top of the mountain
where it has a viewing platform with big crowds. Although my knees
started to feel the stress, it was well worth the effort.
We found a fancy Japanese restaurant (Peony 牡丹園) for
dinner. They all thought it was the best Japanese food (sushi, sashimi,
...) they have ever had, although I could not really tell the difference...
The Last Day ...
It was finally clear enough to have a decent sunrise. I took the shots
from the balacony of our home at 12F.
- Taipei Main Station
||We went to Taipei Main Train
Station to buy the High Speed Rail (HSR) tickets to Taoyuan Airport
since we decided to take the public transportation to the airport in
the evening (for our 11:30PM flight back to San Francisco). The main
station itself is a huge building which houses multiple rail
services including Taiwan Railway Admininstration (TRA, the old
Taiwan Railroad system), Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR), Taipei Metro
(MRT), and Taipei Bus Station.
We tried to find some restaurants
in the station to have lunch, but all the decent places were crowded
with people. We ended up in a small area which offered a few
different beef noodles...
- Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
CKS Memorial Hall is our faviote place
in Taipei that we come here almost every time we are back in Taiwan.
We took a few pictures in which we tried to mimic our poses in some
- Jianguo (Chien-Kuo) High School (建國中學)
This was my high school I attended 30 years ago. The school was
established in 1898 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, and was the
Taipei First High School, the first public high school in Taiwanese history.
It is one of the most prestigious high schools in Taiwan, requiring the
highest scores on the national senior high school entrance exams :-)
Going Home ...
Although it was a short trip to Taiwan for Chinese New Year, it always feels
good to be with family especially as I am getting older. It will be
more difficult to have this kind of opportunity after Linus and Iris go to
college and have their own life/career/family/priorities....
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