Welcome to Day 7 of Janet and Randy's Taipei Adventure 2018
Saturday, April 7th, 2018Today we woke up to cold (14 degrees) and rainy weather. We knew from the forecast that the weather wasn't going to be that great, so we planned to hit up a museum. But first, we headed to the club lounge to have our breakfast (and the usual welcome from the staff that work the lounge).
Dennis took the MRT over to our hotel - arriving just before 10:00am, and then we caught a cab to the National Palace Museum. It was only about a 7 minute ride from our hotel, and cost about $5. Dennis saw that the cab had an EasyPass reader, so he thought he would pay for the cab ride using his EasyPass card. However, the reader in the back seat wasn't connected. The taxi driver had to pull out some sort of device and connect it to his phone. Then he entered the cab fare into the device, his phone and some other taxi fare machine. Only after he did that was Dennis able to 'easily' swipe his card - 4 different pieces of hardware in order to make a tap payment, we renamed it from "Easy Card" to "Hard Card". For the cab ride back, I just paid cash as it was much quicker ("Easy Cash").
The museum opened at 8:30am, so by the time we got there, it was already pretty busy (read - many tour groups). But at least it is a big enough place that the crowds were manageable for the most part. We bought our tickets and had to go through a metal detector. However, they wouldn't let us in with our little day pack. So, we had to go to a check room to store the pack in a locker (you needed a $10 coin - worth about 40 cents - for the locker - it's more the pain in the ass factor that was annoying about that).
Once inside the main part of the museum, we pretty much just wandered aimlessly around. There were areas with rare Chinese books and calligraphy, another area with furniture, various Ming vases and pottery and even some bronze articles. In other words - lots of old stuff. One of the most popular items in the museum is the Jadeite Cabbage. It's basically like the Mona Lisa of the National Palace Museum. You have to stand in line in order to take a picture of it (not a long line, thankfully), and it is much smaller than one would expect. According to Wikipedia, it isn't even categorized as a national treasure - instead it is just a "significant antiquity". However there are many, many items in the gift shop with the cabbage on it. The comparison to the Mona Lisa is very accurate... very underwhelming.
We spent about an hour and a half at the museum, then we caught a cab back to the hotel. We dropped our stuff off in our room and then headed across the street to have lunch at Ed's Diner. This was actually a smokehouse BBQ restaurant. It wasn't very big, and they only had outdoor tables left. As it had warmed up to about 18 degrees by now (and the rain had stopped), we were fine sitting outside. Randy ordered a brisket sandwich, I had the pulled pork sandwich, and Dennis had just a pulled pork plate. We all got some alcoholic beverages. Randy got a beer, while Dennis and I had some 'hard' root beer. The waiter even offered to add ice cream to it to make a root beer float, but we declined. The food was quite good, and really hit the spot.
After lunch, we decided we would take the MRT back to the Xi Men Deng shopping area and wander around some more now that it was a little nicer out. As it was a Saturday afternoon, it was a little busier than when we were wandering around on the Friday. And there was the odd street performer. But at least we didn't run into Whistle Lady. We went down a few different streets than last time, and ended up finding some cool street art. The Street Art was pretty amazing and there was even a section of the street that had a stylistic Canadian and US flag painted, right on the street ! There was an open square where some young folks had the music playing and the gals looked like they were trying to choreograph some dance moves together. We spent a couple hours wandering around (with a drink break at Starbucks - we got window seats at the Starbucks and right outside the windows was a vendor with a large number of umbrellas for sale. It was amusing to watch two young gals come up, ask to see an umbrella, take photos with it, hand it to the other gal to do the same and then hand it back to the vendor - no Sale ! ), and around 3:30pm we decided to catch the train to head back to our hotels. Since we were flying out the next day, we said goodbye to Dennis at his stop, and we continued on to our hotel.
Our feet were tired by the time we got back to our room, so we just chilled out until it was Happy Hour time at the club lounge. We went up to the lounge and had some drinks and snacks for the last time.
We went back to our room for a bit, then around 7:00pm we walked over to a nearby Sushi Express restaurant to have a little bit more food to supplement the snacks we had in the lounge. All the plates cost 30 Taiwan Dollars (just over a $1 each). We ended up sharing 6 plates of sushi, so it was a cheap meal.
After dinner, we stopped at the Carrefour to pick up some toothpicks. I happened to try some toothpicks that were in the Marriott lounge. They were little plastic toothpicks with a sword shape on one end, and a bottle brush shape on the other end. The toothpick was amazing for getting food out of your teeth. Randy had seen them at the Carrefour when he went there the night before, so we went back to buy them.
After getting my stash of toothpicks, we went back to the hotel and just hung out for the rest of the night. And watched a bit of TV before calling it a night. Thankfully there are english channels.
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