Before I came to Taiwan, I didn’t know much about it.
I had heard from some friends that Taiwan was like a more “Western” China, that the people were very amicable and social, and that the food was amazing. Someone had even told me Taipei was their favorite city, by far.
I haven’t been to a lot of cities in Asia, but I understand why someone would say Taipei is their favorite city. We’ve spent a bit more than a weekend in Taipei and I’m still amazed at how traditional and global Taipei is. Not only did I see offices of the biggest banks in the world (of which I will surely be applying for internships for next summer), but some of the most beautiful architecture as well.
Personally, I just had an amazing time in Taipei altogether. We were there for about three days, and 2 nights, and the whole time I was there I was taken aback by the beauty and magnificent “jungle” of Taipei ( a reference to “Welcome to the Jungle” by the Guns n’ Roses).
The first day we were there, a Saturday, we visited an agricultural temple. There, the first thing we did was go downstairs for lunch. They had a sort of buffet style lunch, or not really a buffet, but I can’t really find words to accurately describe it in a sentence. As soon as you walk in, you have to be very quiet. Then you stand in line and grab a bowl and chopsticks. You serve yourself some of the local foods that are constantly being served there on that table. Then, after you’re done serving yourself, you go and sit. The curious thing here is, men sit on the left and women on the right, all looking toward the center. You can stand up again and serve yourself another round of food if you want (I did!) but the rule is you have to eat everything that you put in your bowl. It wasn’t really an issue for me, the food was delicious.
Later on we went upstairs again, where we had to take a nearly-full bowl of water and walk it around while trying to not spill a single drop, as a relaxation and meditation method (it was very stressing for me, but I think it worked for some other people). We had a tour around the temple after that and even though I am not particularly spiritual myself, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of humility as we walked throughout the temple. People actually venerate these figures, they actually commit themselves and their lives to them. Also, they very much respect their leaders, with only praises for them whenever they talk about them. This all seemed very interesting and foreign to me but thinking about it, I can relate it to my family and Christianity. I’m not a Christian myself but my family very much believes in religion and it is such an important part of their lives that it makes me realize that even in our differences we are so very much alike across the world.