National Museum, Maokong Gondola, Chopstick Lessons

Photo gallery is below. These stories are fading fast from my memory, but I’ll tell you what I can.  It was a tourist-oriented day, but surprisingly cheap and satisfying.

National Taiwan Museum

This was another (brilliant!) idea of EV’s.  It’s the building right down the street from Helen Coffee, where I have my lesson every day.  It’s the building with the statues of kalabao resting.  Admission was 20塊 (a little more than one dollar USD).  The traveling exhibition was Paris Céleste, a photographer named Lomont pointed his lenses up the skirts of the domed ceilings of Paris.  There were other exhibitions about the environment, indigenous peoples, the Alishan Railroad… It was a cool way to spend a morning, easy to get to, and cheap!  Worth it.  Lunch afterward was at Tonkatsu, where I go all the time.

I finally found out the story of that neighborhood; they call it 補習班街 bǔxíbān jiē “cram school street,” so there’s a bunch of businesses that cater to kids attending a cram school.

貓空纜車 Maokong Gondola

So you ride the Wenhu Line (brown) all the way out to the end, to Taipei Zoo (which I didn’t go to, but was highly recommended).  You walk down to the end of the street, and for 50塊 (less than two dollars USD) you ride a suspended glass-bottomed cable car way up to Maokong, a tea-oriented mountain-side road, lined with tea houses with spectacular views.   I highly recommend this ride, it’s beautiful, peaceful, and cheap.  I went with 馬麗安 to a teahouse; we drank tea, ate waffles 華夫餅乾 huáfūbǐnggān 松餅 sōngbǐng waffles, used the free wifi… ended up waiting out a rainstorm.

When the rainstorm was over, we walked up and down the teahouse street, and then back to the gondola for the ride back down.  Unfortunately, the gondola was closed due to high winds, so we bused back down, which was a different way to view the neighborhood; it was quite cool.

Longshan Temple Night Market

馬麗安 and I subwayed back to Longshan Temple station to have dinner at the night market.  Actually, there are four streets that are night markets right in that area.  One of the streets is nicknamed “Snake Alley” because of the live snakes on display… and allegedly the snake stews you can eat.  We went for grilled sausage on a stick.

We wanted to sit and eat, so we found a table on the street and sat down; then a lady came to give us a menu; apparently the tables belonged to her kitchen.  I ordered 炒米粉 rice noodles and 空心菜 kangkong, and figured that we could use that table as a home base for eating food from other stalls, like the roast corn…

It turns out, though, that 馬麗安 did not know how to use chopsticks, so that 炒米粉 and 空心菜 ended up becoming her chopstick lesson!  Of course she was using chopsticks like a pro by the end of the night… Keep practicing!

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