Well, our first full day in Taiwan has come to a close. One thing we’ve learned (well, Dawin already knew) is that jet lag here seems worse than anywhere else. Europe was a walk in the park compared to this. Anyway, moving on.

We started the day with a trip to the local 7Eleven, which is pretty fantastic. We picked up some breakfast (lots of fresh stuff to choose from), and stocked up for the eventual midnight snack attacks that seem to go along with the time change.

From there we had a little belated Christmas before checking out the complex where we’re staying, which includes a pool table, badminton court, and pool…though I expect we’ll get precisely zero use from all three combined.

Then it was time to hit the mass transit system to head downtown for lunch. We simply stepped off the train and into the train station, revealing a HUGE selection of food. “Fast food” has a whole different meaning here, clearly. Instead of crappy burgers and fries, there’s huge portions of delicious noodles, dumplings, and other fare. It was like there were several dozen nice sit down restaurants all together in one building, only you got your food in 3 minutes. Sprinkled in between were tea shops and even a wine bar. All in the train station. For an oddity, the only long line we saw was at a place that served nothing but plain cheesecakes. Seriously, look at this thing.


That’s a solid hour wait for a single cheesecake (you weren’t allowed to buy more than one). The only shortcut involved bringing your baby, which earned you preferential treatment and a spot at the front of the line – this seems a common thing everywhere in Taiwan, along with people leaping out of their seat on the train to offer it to anyone with a baby or gray hair.

We then moved on to the Maokong Gondola, a gondola lift (think ski lift) running from Taipei to the Maokong area more than 2.5 miles away. Absolutely spectacular views of the city long the way, as you can see:


While in the station at the base of the gondola, I discovered that you can make jerky out of squid. Seriously. Squid. Jerky. Let that sink in for a second. Apparently this is a very common bar food in Korea, in fact. We picked up a bag and our niece munched on it for the whole ride. And you know what? It’s not bad. Clearly not for everyone, but totally edible.

At the top of the gondola ride, we had tea, where I discovered what must be the world’s smallest pitcher, which was used for honey. As you can see, it’s a perfect fit for my hand:


From there we meandered back home through a tired haze, stopping along the way for dessert in the form of shaved ice with boba, soft tofu with a sweet sugary syrup, and a couple other small items.

That about does it for the day. If that was a rambly mess of a post, I’m going to blame it on the jet lag. See you tomorrow, hopefully after a solid 8 hours of rest.