Today we checked out the Taipei Fine Arts Museum that I have been curious about since moving here. I used to love going to museums back in Portland, but in Taipei the opportunity rarely arises. Maybe cause my friends all love sport, food and parties more than art?!
Anyway, it was all super contemporary, a little more than I could handle. It was Andy Warhol who once famously quoted: "Art is anything you can get away with" and boy, he knew what he was talking about.
Maybe I'm just not artistic enough to appreciate a bunch of plastic buckets taped together with a garbage bag. Or tables with a printer on them. I spent about an hour in that museum in a state torn between amusement, boredom, and confusion. The most interesting 'exhibit' was actually a form of animal abuse trying to get by as 'art'. There was a little cute black bird in a cage in an all-white room with speakers just blasting the sentence 'My name is Little Black' in over 400 different languages. I think the bird at some point was meant to repeat or learn how to regurgitate the phrase but it just hung out. I hope someday Little Black will escape and fly free!
Anyways, then we wandered around that area and ate at a park. Then went for a jog along the riverside and had dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant blah blah blah blah. Oh, the stove got fixed, that was exciting too. Now I have no excuses to not learn how to cook. My life is full of thrills!!!!!
There is a place in Taiwan where lovers go. It has claimed to be the most romantic, most scenic spot in Taiwan, and it's called Sun Moon Lake. Guess where my boyfriend wanted to go for his birthday! So off we went over the first weekend of 2013. You can go by either HSR or bus, and we chose the bus to avoid transferring down in Taichung. Sun Moon Lake is a lake in the middle of Taiwan, surrounded by mountains and next to Nantou, home of One Piece Theme Park and an aboriginal village!
We were excited to ditch a dreary, rainy week of Taipei weather for some warm sunshine and a brilliant blue sky when we arrived! We quickly figured out that our resort was on the other side of the lake, and our first view of the lake was from a 50NT ferry ride over it.
We checked in, and grabbed our bikes to start exploring only to discover that there wasn't much to do around the area, just a little open town square and aboriginal-styled stands and shops selling guabao and sunglasses. We decided to park the bikes and take cable cars from the lakeside over to the theme park for the day. I have been to the One Piece Theme Park/Aboriginal Village before, and it was just as I remembered it-lovely, sunny, and uncrowded. There are only really like five good rides, but since there aren't any lines you can go on them as many times as you like. Boyfriend and I jumped on to every ride, fearless, and laughed ourselves silly from the queasiness til we got soaked on the 'Caribbean Splash'. The cable cars stopped running at 4:30pm so we headed back to the lake to catch the sunset.
THE NEXT DAY was adventure day-we were determined to bike around the lake. We had heard about a famous scenic bike trail, and so we set off early in the morning to conquer it. There is only one path around the lake, so you can't get lost. If you know me at all, you know that biking is NOT my favorite outdoor activity. However, if all conditions are optimal (perfect weather, flat trail, good company and pretty views) I will go. For the first two hours or so of our bike ride, this was not the case. The view was pretty but it was all uphill on a twisty concrete road, and the end was no where in sight. However with the persistance and annoying encouragement from my fitness-crazed boyfriend we finally hit flat ground, and the legendary spectacular bike trail after all. We could NOT stop taking pictures-it was too gorgeous and so worth it.
We reached the opposite side of the lake where we took the ferry from, after about four hours. This part of the lake was a bit more lively-swarming with tourists actually-and we had lunch on the sun-shiny boardwalk. Thankfully, bikes were allowed onto the ferry for extra charge and we didn't have to bike the rest of the way around the lake to get back to our stuff. We packed up, and strolled around enjoying the view a bit before heading back to Taipei.
My friend Paul invited us to go on a hike last Saturday, and what a hike it was!! We met up on Saturday morning in Muzha, and took a cab to an intersection in the middle of nowhere. The English name and directions are unknown, apart from what you can tell from this map.
The hike started off with concrete steps for the first 20 mins, so I ate a pizza bagel and lagged behind til the boys were out of sight. I wore the same shirt I slept in cause 1) I was lazy/half-asleep and 2) I thought it would be short hike. The terrain eventually evolved and soon we were pulling ourselves up with ropes and dangling on metal chain ladders! It was actually pretty dangerous in some areas, and we heard that lots of people have died trekking this mountain before they put in all the ropes and ladders. The hike turned out to be very popular-we ran into tons of people and even a tour group!! The path was very narrow and there were a lot of roots, rocks and dirt…yes, like a hiking trail. I hadn’t been on a hike for a really long time, and this one felt like it went on forever, in a good way.
We made it to the ‘end’ which was just a really high point of the mountain, although signs had eluded to a lake-nowhere to be seen nor heard of. It was beautiful. The whole hike took about 5 hours total, starting and ending at the Muzha MRT. Sometimes I love feeling like I live nowhere near a city and going on hikes really helps. Fresh air is good, y’all!!
Oh, the next day was my first rowing practice of the year as well! Kazu (one of the captains from last year) has been setting them up every weekend and Sunday was the first time I could make it this month! I LOVE BEING ON A BOAT IN THE RIVER ON A SUNNY DAY. Although we won't be starting real practices until March, it was good to see familiar faces and meet new potential teammates. ****IF YOU LIVE IN TAIPEI AND IS INTERESTED IN JOINING THE BEST DRAGONBOAT TEAM IN TAIWAN, PLEASE COME LET ME KNOW****
****PS. See my shirt? It's a GAELIC FOOTBALL jersey and we are also starting to recruit for next season. So, IF YOU LIVE IN TAIPEI AND WANT TO PLAY-LET ME KNOW!****