Day 2 highlights: a glimpse of Chiang Kai-shek and meeting Professor Zhuang
Today started out pretty slow-paced. I took forever to decide what I wanted to do before speaking with Dr. Heylen later this afternoon, but I settled on walking around the area a little more. In hopes of finding the Salt Peanuts Cafe, I went the opposite direction instead (on purpose this time) to check out Roosevelt Road, which I realized was the road I walked the whole time yesterday. I remember they had a lot of street food, so I went back today to buy a lunch of braised pork, eggs, green beans, and chicken liver. I feel like bubble tea is like the soda of Taiwan because I see shops for them around almost every corner. I got a delicious passion fruit, jelly, and bubble tea to go with my boxed lunch:
I felt sort of blah today, so I rested and watched about the last 30 minutes of Meet the Fockers before heading out again. Funny, I never saw this before, and here I am in Taiwan watching a movie about two extremely American families.
I was on my way to check out Chiang Kai-shek (which is nothing like the Chinese pronunciation) Memorial Hall when Professor Zhuang, a colleague of Dr. Heylen’s, contacted me and agreed on meeting up to show me around and discuss my project. I decided to keep walking to Chiang Kai-shek for future reference and take the metro from there to meet Prof. Zhuang. (Random: a grandpa-aged man who walked by me had “Empire State of Mind” as his ringtone lol) The memorial is a lot bigger than what I gathered from pictures, and the park grounds are gorgeous! I was there for a total of 5 minutes to check the time and ask directions for the metro stop, so I definitely need to go back when I have more time:
I’ve seen more dance related images and media in Taipei than I expected before coming here, which makes me even more excited to research. On my way to meet Prof. Zhuang, I found a mural for the ballet Giselle in the Chiang Kai-shek metro station (too bad it’s in July, sadface):
And in front was a lovely musician playing the violin with a recorded piano accompaniment:
Prof. Zhuang and I met at Taipower station near NTNU and Cat’s PJs where she told me some of the history and noble status of the neighborhoods around campus. She was so sweet and helpful! She teaches a Taiwanese popular culture class at NTNU so she is pretty well-informed on the locations I should check out for street dancing. There are little park areas and a small stage in Guting where musical performances are the norm on the weekends, and True Fitness gym offers various dance classes, which I hope to find later this week.
I took a quick nap before I headed out for dinner with Marissa, Jacqueline, Lucas, and a Arnold, a guy from Montreal who Marissa and Jacqueline met earlier today. I was so excited to find out that Arnold has taken ballet and modern before, and he knows a little of social dancing, too. Marissa is into salsa and ballroom, so we agreed we’re going to have an appreciation night to showcase all our talents to each other.
We were determined to get xiao chi at the NTNU night market, so Lucas being the awesome host that he is led us through the markets near our campus where we found all sorts of goodies, from grilled corn on the cob to pizza wrapped in cone shapes. Lucas gave us recommendations on some of his favorite shops and particular foods we should try. For our appetizer, we got a little skewer of barbecue chicken butts (which we found out only after we ate it…) that was tender and seasoned with just the right amount of sauce. Marissa and I split a Taiwanese hamburger, which consisted of shredded pork with Asian-style seasoned sauerkraut wrapped in a mantou-type bun. Mmm I can still remember the taste:
I still craved something salty, so us three girls split a fried rice with lamb that we later ate in a park, and Arnold had some awesome looking mango frozen yogurt. Throughout our expedition Lucas walked past the clothing stores and food stands like nothing while the rest of us were stopping every few seconds to take it all in. He said he was used to us tourists looking like distracted dogs. Speaking of dogs, there are so many everywhere, and they’re so cute! In a store I went to yesterday, there was what looked like a Maltese just chillin on the front counter top, basking in the attention given from the customers. Adorable!
Marissa and I unwound for the day at Salt Peanuts Cafe, one of the many coffee and tea shops around the hostel. I ordered a tea that had a long name I can’t remember:
It was really good, almost reminded me of oolong. Apparently students can bring in their own artwork to display on the walls of Salt Peanuts, making every trip to the cafe unique. There’s a library cafe right across called Mo Relax and everyone from the hostel has given it great reviews, so I think I’ll try that one next.
So I’m actually sitting in Mo Relax Cafe right now and I absolutely love the atmosphere here. I’m taking a break before we dive into the nightlife in a few hours. Day 3 coming soon!