Road Names and Wrapping Paper

A few observations:

Each and every road here seems to have many different spellings.

For instance, Tun Hwa Rd. could also be Tunhua Rd., Dun Hua Rd., or even Dunhua Rd., making it challenging to Google map directions!

Also, vendors seem to take a lot of care when wrapping purchases. A simple paperback book I bought was placed into a lovely high-quality paper bag, folded over at the top and taped shut. The chocolates were presented in a golden bag, sealed shut with an engraved sticker, and then placed into an even fancier bag with handles. The flowers were carefully arranged, taped together, wrapped in paper and then in cello so that water could be added. Such attention to detail!

Day 3 pm

After breakfast and a nice long nap (still getting adjusted to the time zone difference) I decide to venture out, despite the weather. The hotel staff surprise me by saying it’s an easy walk to Taipei 101 when I ask them about it. (Usually they recommend a taxi for everything!) I take my camera and dress in layers, which I realize was a mistake the minute I step outside – it’s so humid. I am gonna love it here!

Approaching Taipei 101 from Xinyi Rd.

Along the street people are walking, riding bikes, scooters. Cars and taxis dart across streets, barely missing pedestrians. It’s a wonderful cacophony of sights, sounds, and smells. 40 minutes later I’m going up the escalator to the Observatory but it’s closed until the end of the month. Guess I’ll have to console myself with shopping the mall (5 floors of super high-end stores, many I recognize).

Taipei mall

I head straight to Godiva where 2 truffles set me back 8.00 USD! They wrapped them up so beautifully I suppose it’s worth it. I find the food court – wow! NOTHING like back home. I almost succombed to McDonalds, just to get a happy meal toy! The choices are pretty wide-ranging: sushi, hotpot, all sorts of stuff I had no idea what it was because the menus are all in Chinese; I ended up getting some fresh veggie juice (2.75 USD). I noticed an Aveda salon and made a mani-pedi appointment for next Saturday. I bought a book at the bookstore (20% off) which cost as much as the two chocolates; I’m still getting the hang of figuring out how to convert NT into USD to figure out the price. NOTE: must find a used book store! On the way back to the hotel, I stopped for coffee (1.50 USD) at 7-11. Each coffee cup has a “2-point” sticker on it; if you save enough of them, you get a lovely piece of Beatrix Potter china. I see a little flower stand and stop in. I ask if the vendor speaks English; no, she motions, so I pantomime what I’d like.  Two pink roses, two ivory chyrsanthemums, some greens, all wrapped up for less than 6.00 USD. Now I need to figure out what to do for dinner…

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…