Day 10 pm

There’s hot and humid and then there’s Taiwan! I decided to walk to the Taipei 101 mall…I’d done it last weekend, no problem. Not so much today! By the time I got to the Hyatt, across from the 101 (less than 2 miles from the Fullerton) I was literally, dripping with sweat  – ugh – and managed to get blisters on both feet! I need a pedicure!! So, onto one of Taipei’s Aveda salons..aaaaah.

Taipei 101 Aveda Salon

That was probably the most attention I’ve received at any salon EVER! For my  haircut, the stylist took his time to figure out what I wanted (between my Chinglish and his limited understand of it) and then gave me what I asked for (short but able to be styled in several different ways). The haircut consisted of MORE THAN ONE massage (neck, shoulders, scalp) – so relaxing! Next up, the much-needed mani-pedi. It was done in a private setting with much attention paid to details. I think at one point I almost fell asleep! You know how picky I am when it comes to personal care services. This was a little more expensive than back in the States (~ 160.00 for all three services) but seriously, this was the BEST I’ve ever had! I did purchase some product and was told that I could get an immediate refund for the tax I’d just paid (VAT) – say what??

Next up, the food court and fresh juice! Boy they love their OJ here! No matter what type of juice one orders, it’s always topped off with OJ.

Then, I hit the mother load – the Taiwan equivalent of Whole Foods, named: Jason’s! A great haircut and happy nails and now an organic foods market? Wow! I tried taking photos of some of the strange foods but was approached by a smiling security guard who asked me not to. Hmmmm, not sure what that’s about but I did manage to get one shot of a really strange fruit (from Thailand). No clue what it is. Maybe one of you does…

Strange Fruit

NOTE: Read Aron’s comment for the name of the strange fruit!

In the “junk food” aisles they had everything from Mint Milanos to carmel corn to jelly bellies! Of course there were all sorts of Japanese treats and other (healthier) goodies to select from. Of course, my purchases were once again beautifully wrapped.

Jason's Bag and Tax Refund Envelope

Day 10 am

Yesterday was apparently international day. My collegues took me out for a “Welcome” lunch to an Italian restaurant recommended by the foodies in the group. I had swordfish topped with a delicioso salsa! As each person’s order was brought out, several co-workers took photos of each plate to post onto Flkr – now that’s hardcore foodie! Afterwards, I was introducted to gem of a bakery: “Boite de Bijou” (Jewel Box). Wow! Gorgeous displays of individual dessert treats, breads, condiments – all tres chic! I selected an assortment of macarons and, in fine Taiwan style, was presented with the most gorgeous box, tied with a brown ribbon. Amazing!

Boite de Bijou box


After work, a group of us jumped on the bus (my first bus ride here) to go grab Mexican food at a little hole-in-wall close to National Taiwan University (NTU). On the way to the park to eat (the place only had 6 seats) my cheese quesadillas, I stumbled upon a GERMAN bakery/restaurant!! I ordered some rose tea, made with rose buds – a beautiful pinkish color, and so  tasty! While I waited for the tea to be made I could not resist the Bienenschtich (bee sting) – yum!

Today I’ll be getting a long-needed mani-pedi at the Aveda salon in Taipei 101 and then…who knows!

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