My Chinese language partner from high school drove with his brother from Taichung to Taipei to take me to Jiufen, which is a mountain area in northern Taiwan. On the way up to Jiufen, the road winds along a cliff by the ocean. My two friends and I passed by a small beach area, along with a cove where many boats were anchored.
Close to Jiufen, Yehliu Geopark is famous for its sea-erosion landscape. It is located along the northern coast, and features unique rock formations along with walking trails. This has been one of my favorite sites visited in Taiwan so far.
On a free weekend, I traveled to Taichung, a city located about half-way down the island, to see my host family from when I was last in Taiwan (2016). While there, Taichung was hosting the World Flower Expo; pictured is the main exhibition hall with the large flower piece in the center representing a jellyfish. Other components of the expo included flower decorating competitions, the explanation of orchid growth, and a large outdoor exhibit featuring displays built by various countries, including the United States, Germany, and many others.
A few hours before my train left to return to Taipei, my host family brought me to the National Taichung Theater Sky Garden. Located on the sixth floor of the theater, the Sky Garden has winding pathways along the rooftop, and features great city views of downtown Taichung.
This semester, I am interning at the Museum of World Religions in Yonghe district. This museum is the first of its kind in the world, and hosts many conferences, school groups, and individual visitors. Founded by a Buddhist monk, the purpose of this museum is to educate visitors about various religions, and encourage tolerance, respect, and understanding amongst them.
Every year in Saudi Arabia, the Kiswah, which is the black cloth that covers the Kaaba in Mecca, is taken down and replaced by a new one. Every time it is taken down, it is divided into pieces and given to various organizations across the world; therefore, it is considered to be rare. This is a picture of a piece of the Kiswah that was donated to the museum, which can be seen in the Islam exhibition in the Great Hall of World Religions.
As part of the CET program, we took a group trip to visit Hualien, a town on the east coast of Taiwan, and Taroko Gorge. Our homestay for the trip was located a short walking distance away from the Pacific Ocean, so we were able to walk over and take in the views before hiking the gorge.
Considered to be the “Grand Canyon” of Taiwan, Taroko Gorge is located in the eastern part of Taiwan close to Hualien and is one of nine national parks in Taiwan. Walking across this bridge led us to two different temples whose overlooks had a nice view of the surrounding scenery.
Wu Pao Chun Bakery is easily my favorite bakery in Taiwan; my favorite item so far is the chicken focaccia bread. In 2010, Wu Pao Chun won the title of “Master Baker” in the bread category of the Bakery Masters competition held in Paris, and a movie was made about him and his bread. The slogan of the bakery is “Exploring bread, a way of seeing the world.”
Located about a one-minute walk from our apartment is a shaved ice shop called Chun Mei. Shaved ice is a very popular dessert in Taiwan; it can be found in night markets along with within its own stores. One of my roommates and I tried the red bean and pineapple shaved ice; definitely a must-try when in Taiwan.