Day 26: Taipei Zoo & Taipei 101

by Theresa

Taipei Day 3: A true day of tourism. The first part of the day was devoted to the Taipei zoo, the largest zoo in Asia!

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On the way to the zoo, we got lost about a million times. So even though we left the hostel midmorning, it was well past lunchtime when we finally arrived. Unfortunately, our guides thought there would be no food options inside the zoo (there actually are a lot of intriguing options!) so they encouraged us to eat at the McDonalds at the restaurant. 

I was so tempted to order a deep-fried chicken burger. However, logic got the best of me, and I opted for something a little bit easier to digest: salad and fries. I was happily surprised to see that Taiwanese McDonalds sells standards salads with lots of fresh veggies, corn, and raisins!

 

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And just for fun: here’s a picture to show our feelings about the rest of the day..

 

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It was very hot out Saturday, but even so, the animals were SO ACTIVE! I wish I could share videos on the blog because you won’t believe it. Email me now or ask my when I get back to the states if you’re dying for some fun animal noises.

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The zoo was completely exhausting, but well worth it. On the way out, I grabbed some lemon green tea to refuel!

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On to part two: Taipei 101!

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Taipei 101 is the fourth-tallest building in the world, standing at 509 meters tall, with 101 floors (see what they did there?).

The first few floors of Taipei 101 are filled with luxurious stores for shopping, a beautiful cafeteria, and financial services offices.

 

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I grabbed a loaf of honey fig bread for snack, which ended up being dinner… I have no self control with this incredible bread.

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Above the mall begins the process for visiting the observatory deck.

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This is where I discovered that I had not rubbed in my sun screen as well as I intended….

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After about 30 minutes of waiting, we finally got to the top! They call this “touching the sky”.

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Visitors are allowed to view on the 88th and 89th floors. You can also go upstairs to an outdoor viewing deck, but this was closed when we were touring. The center of the floors are also open for viewing, to display a massive balancing ball (I don’t know what else to call it!), suspended from building supports. This ball balances the entire building so that in the event of an earthquake, the center of gravity stays stable, preventing the building from collapsing.

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The observatory deck is also packed with staged photography areas, information boards, free personal audio tours, shopping stands and gift stores. What else would you expect from a building that used to be called Taipei World Financial Center?

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To supplement my nutritious breadloafdinner, I took advantage of the rare finding of real ice cream! Most ice cream I’ve tried here has been very icy and slightly gritty. Thank goodness for Coldstones!

 

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After Taipei 101, it took our group a while to get situated, but we finally decided to visit a new night market. This also turned out to be a great adventure, since myself and three other students became separated from our tour guide, with no plan to regroup at a certain time or place. Thank goodness for the friendly, kind-hearted people of Taiwan! The four of us returned to the entrance of the night market, hoping and waiting for the rest of our group to show up, where we met an english-speaking local who allowed us to borrow his phone! We called the only person who’s phone number we had saved, who in turn called our tour guide, and told her where to meet. Problem solved! And now we all know to never step away from the group in a crowded night market without a game plan!

You can also read more about today’s adventures at the AU COBE blog. Also we have a collaborative photo album for viewing if you’d like to see more pictures!

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