Photos taken by Huy Tran (Middlebury College), Student Correspondent for CET Taiwan, Spring 2023
This weekend, we were blessed with an extra day off due to Labor Day, and my friends and I decided to make the most of it by exploring Taipei Zoo. The zoo was bustling with visitors of all ages, and as self-proclaimed “adults with children’s personalities,” my friends and I made our first stop at the Children’s Zoo.
Despite being designed for children, I found the Children’s Zoo to be incredibly intriguing and amusing. There, I was greeted by an interesting-looking llama, which only added to the excitement and wonder of the experience.
As we continued our zoo exploration, we were amazed by the variety of animals we encountered, from majestic tigers to adorable pandas.
While exploring the vast Taipei Zoo, I was in awe of the sheer size and variety of habitats to discover. The picturesque scenery of lush greenery and wildlife around every corner made me feel like I was one with nature. My friends and I decided to take our adventure to new heights by hopping on the Maokong Gondola ride that takes visitors up toward the mountain area. From the top-down view, we were amazed by the stunning vistas of Taiwan’s beautiful landscape, which left us breathless and inspired.
Today, I embarked on a solo adventure to the National Taiwan Museum. From the moment I laid my eyes on the magnificent building, I knew I was in for a treat. The architecture was a beautiful blend of Eastern and Western styles, and the towering columns and intricate designs were a testament to the rich history of Taiwan.
As I walked through the museum’s grand entrance, I was struck by the sheer magnitude of the place. The museum was divided into several sections, each with its own unique theme and display of historical items. There was something for everyone to explore and discover.
One of my favorite exhibits at the National Taiwan Museum was the “Monsters – An Exhibition of Aquatic Reptile Fossils” section. As soon as I entered the exhibit, I was greeted by a life-size model of a prehistoric sea monster with sharp teeth and a long tail.
After several hours of exploring the museum’s many sections, I felt inspired and enlightened. The National Taiwan Museum was truly a remarkable experience that allowed me to connect with Taiwan’s past, present, and future.
After walking around the museum for a while, I walked to the 228 Peace Memorial Park, which is right next to the museum. The park was peaceful and lively at the same time, filled with people walking around for a relaxing time or having a picnic. It was calming, and the scenery was breathtaking, with greenery and beautiful flowers surrounding the park.
As I walked further into the park, I came across the 228 Peace Memorial Monument, a solemn reminder of a tragic event in Taiwan’s history. The monument, standing tall and proud, honors the victims of the 228 Incident, a mass killing that occurred in 1947. It was a humbling experience to pay my respects to those who lost their lives during this dark period of Taiwanese history.
As the day ended, I realized how much I had learned and experienced during my solo trip. It reminded me there is so much to discover and explore in this beautiful country, and I couldn’t wait to plan my next adventure.
Over the weekend, my language partners and I indulged ourselves in a sushi feast for lunch. The restaurant was bustling with people, but luckily we had booked our seats in advance. As we savored each bite of our delectable Japanese cuisine, we couldn’t help but feel amazed by the endless variety of sushi available. We could order directly from the menu or grab plates off the revolving conveyor belt, which was a unique and fun experience. To top it off, we were served unlimited free green tea, adding a refreshing touch to the meal.
After satisfying our hunger, we headed to a local massage parlor nearby. It was a much-needed break from our busy schedules and endless studying for midterms and exams. The massage was incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating, leaving us feeling completely healed and refreshed. We could feel the tension and stress melting away with every soothing touch.
Following our pampering session, we explored a manga store in Ximending. It was a dreamland for anime lovers, filled with different manga genres and merchandise. The vibrant atmosphere and colorful displays instantly transported us to the world of anime and manga. It was an amazing experience, and we left the store with a newfound appreciation for the art form.
To end our day, my language partners and I strolled around the bustling district of Ximending, taking in the vibrant energy and lively atmosphere. The streets were filled with countless shops and vendors, offering everything from trendy fashion to mouth-watering street food. As we walked, we encountered various street performers showcasing their talents with mesmerizing dance routines and impressive acrobatics. It was a truly unique experience, immersing ourselves in the vibrant culture and liveliness of Taipei’s popular Ximending district.
As the day was coming to a close, I felt a sense of sadness wash over me as I realized that my adventure in Taiwan was soon ending. However, as I sat there reflecting on my experiences, I couldn’t help but also feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I am grateful for the opportunity to explore a new country, learn about its culture, and create memories with my language partners. From trying new foods to visiting iconic landmarks, every moment felt like a new adventure waiting to be discovered. Even though my time in Taiwan may be ending soon, the memories and experiences will stay with me forever.