Saturday, May 31, 2014

Taipei 101: Not an Introductory Course!

Our last couple days spent in Taiwan were both wonderful and exhausting. After a fun final night with our China Medical University friends, it was time to wake up bright and early on Saturday and head north to Taipei. After riding the high-speed train, our first stop in Taipei was Fu-Jen Catholic University to visit the Nutrition Society of Taiwan for the annual meeting. Much like nutrition conferences in the U.S., there were vendors, research posters, and speakers. I had anticipated that we would be staying for some speakers during our time there. Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking, as I am sure all of the speakers would have been speaking Chinese anyway! Instead, we mostly stopped from vendor to vendor, trying samples, and skimmed through some of the extensive research presented on the research posters. We also ran into some of our grad school acquaintances from CMU.

After our quick visit to the university, we were off to lunch. (We never went hungry!) On this day, we went to a famous restaurant in Taipei, Din Tai Fung. The restaurant has also branched out into locations such as Australia, China, and even the United States. It is famous for its steamed dumplings. There was a long line outside the restaurant, but luckily Dr. Chow's daughter, who attends school in Taipei, made a reservation for us. As we were walking into the restaurant, there was even a framed picture of Tom Cruise making the dumplings and dining there. We weren't disappointed either. At least I know I wasn't!

I love this picture, because it captures the essence of the city
and you can even see Taipei 101 in the background!

Hey look! There's even bitter melon on the menu!
(picture from Morgan)
After lunch, we made our way to the Maokong Gondola (not the boat...aerial cable cars). While on the Gondola, we were able to see a spectacular view of the city, including Taipei 101.

Dr. Chow, Sandra, and Morgan in the Gondola
Myself with Dr. Kattelmann and Dr. Chow's youngest daughter

A Buddhist temple on the hillside
The tall building to the right is Taipei 101

Upon arriving to the top, we were greeted by rain. Our time in Taiwan would not be complete without more rain. It just so happened to also be the day that nearly all of us decided to leave our umbrellas at the hotel. Our solution? These super cute rain ponchos.

We may be a little soggy, but it was totally worth this
green tea ice cream!
As you can probably tell from the pictures, we were just a tad bit wet after that adventure. Luckily we had a little time to clean-up a bit before our supper plans. Jessie and Jessica road the train up to Taipei for the weekend and met us. Since Jessie's mom lives in Taipei we were able to dine with her. What a fun experience full of yet more new foods!

Unfortunately you can't even see Jessie's mom in the picture, but this was the restaurant.
Afterwards, we boarded the metro (this was a common process in Taipei) and made our way to Taipei 101. Prior to traveling to Taiwan, I had never even heard of Taipei 101. On the little package that my CMU friend, Jessica had made me, there was a sticker of a skyscraper and she had written "Taipei 101" next to it. My first thought was, "Oh cute! She is saying Taipei 101, kind of like we might say Bio 101 when we are talking about an introductory course." How silly of my! Instead, it is the second largest building in the world with 101 floors. However, it seemed that everyplace in Asia seemed to have a different idea of what was the largest building. According to the ever handy Wikipedia, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest. This building was similar to the observatory we visited during our time in Shanghai.

The lighting of the picture is not the best, but the gang's all here!

This giant ball is called a tuned mass damper and is used to help stabilize the
building during high winds, especially those found in hurricanes
Not many of my pictures turned out due to the terrible glare.
And that's a wrap on our second-to-last day in Taiwan!

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