So after sleeping on the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept on (the hardwood floor would have been softer) I wake up ridiculously early for vacation and got ready to go. I decided since I didn't have plans for the day that it would be a good idea to walk to my next hostel and drop off things before i head out for the day. The walk was 30+ minutes and I passed through botanical gardens so I got to see something, although carrying 20kilos on my back was pretty taxing. There was no answer at the new hostel so the woman who owned the ceramic store downstairs (again super safe right!?) let me in and told me to wait..,I waited...and waited. 20 mins and I decided I was wasting my time. I left my bag and a note saying I'd be back and was on my way. The picture is of the room I actually got hours later. There was no one at this hostel and they wouldn't let me stay in the 300NT room because it was for four people...so I had to get a single which was fine by me!!
I make my way over to Taipei 101, the world's tallest building. First off, their entire marketing strategy is that it's the tallest building blah blah we have all sorts of records. So what are they going to do when this is no longer true in a couple months (Dubai is opening the world's two tallest buildings)? I'm thinking they'll play ignorant so they won't have to change all of their signs and verbiage. Anyway, outside this Western dude stops me and asks me to take his photo in front of the building. I say sure and ask for the same favor in return. We get to chatting and I find out Neel's been living in Seoul the past month and is here for long weekend alone as well! Perfect! We go out to lunch and end up touring all day together. He's really funny and easy to get along with and totally has yellow fever which keeps me laughing all day. He has yet to act on it and is getting frustrated. haha oh Neel. Meeting people in a foreign country seems to solidify a bond quickly. Where else can you meet some totally random stranger and have something to talk about all day? I remember asking Emily before I moved to Seoul how the people were and she had the best reply "It's like summer camp." You forge friendships fast. I suppose it's the common ground; you're all in the same boat going through similar experiences away from home and the known. Anyway, Neel's cool and I hope we hang out in Seoul soon.
Neel and I parted for a few hours to do separate sightseeing and to get ready for the night and I stumbled up the CKS memorial. Ahh it's so beautiful. There's a huge open courtyard where at one end is a beautiful blue gate and at the opposing end is the CKS memorial. Then on each side there is the National Theater and the National Hall which are both striking red and yellow. I think it was my favorite thing I saw all day. Although the Longshan temple was pretty cool too (better by night). I could have stayed there all night but it was getting late and my legs were about to give, so I went across the street and had the best latte I have ever had. ahh I could go for one now.
Neel and I meet by the Longshan Temple (my hostel was right there), take a few pics and head off for snake alley!!! This is what I have been waiting for. It's a tourist night market complete with shopping, tons of street food, massages, performers, and of course, cobras!! I totally went for the tourist trap and took a shot of snake's blood (Neel wouldn't) and then Neel and I got cobra soup. Basically a few chunks of snake meat in broth. It looked like snake, it tasted like chicken, and had more bones than frogs' legs. Needless to say, neither of us finished our soup. We stroll around, meet a few more ex-pats living in Korea traveling to Taipei, and decide we want to go to a nightclub. We take a cab back to the 101 area and find an expat bar. Giant Belgian Beers. I had a Delirium and it was like heaven. Then we tried to go find a bar that was recommended to me, Brown Sugar (more on this in day 4). Instead we see a place called Barcode that looked cool and walked in. There was a line and probably a cover, but for those of you who know me well, I don't do lines. So we walked by and played ignorant. No one said anything, so we went and sat at a reserved table. Someone came up and tried to tell us the table was reserved, but we told him we would move when they came, and they let us stay. The English in Taiwan is 500% better than that in Korea. People actually speak it here. Anyway, after a round of drinks Neel heads to the bathroom and gives me a challenge while he's gone. He tells me to see if I could hook us up with a group of people who already have a table...it's like he knows me. This is my favorite thing to do. So he comes back and I'm surrounded by 7 Chinese businessmen and a bottle of 12 year old Dewers. Nicely done Lauren. These guys are great. They're drunk, in suits and totally ready to party. After a few hours of straight whiskey, dancing, rockpaperscissors, and Russian girls, I decided I had enough and cabbed it back. It's a little fuzzy but I remember getting into my hostel and not being able to get into my room. I go and tell the front desk guy that he has obviously given me the wrong key or it's broken and he comes to take a look. He puts the key in on the first try, opens the door and says "You drunk." Fair enough.