My family made a last minute planned trip to Taiwan over the first week of July to visit my mom’s side of the family. But as time passed, we wanted to learn about how different Taiwan is from America.
We left Los Angeles, California on July 1st, 2011, reaching Taipei City, Taiwan July 2nd, after the 14-hour flight. The first step I took out of Taipei Taoyuan Airport was the first step to my new experience. As we drove to my grandma’s house, I looked out the window; I saw the areas were crowded and buildings were close to one another. The driving style was also different; vehicles were everywhere and streets were extremely narrow. The air wasn't as clean as America's, since there were a lot more motorcycles.
We went back to Taoyuan the next day to visit Chiang Ching Kuo Memorial. When we got back to Taipei, we went to the National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, and Sun Yat Sen Memorial. My parents wanted to teach me about Taiwan’s presidents and told us old stories about their childhood. We also visited the famous 101 tower.
We decided to make a visit to Kaohsiung. We took the bus to Beitou Station at 8am, taking the metro to Taipei Main Station, where we changed to taking the fast train to Hsinchu City. There, we explored the city and visited Chenghuang Temple, surrounded with many stalls. The temple is famous because it’s the highest-ranking of all City God temples in Taiwan, since the City God protects the city. Later, we caught the train to Taichung City to sightsee and shop. We also ate, since there were so many good-looking food around with their scent blowing towards us.
Our next stop was Tainan City. We visited our 2nd relatives, my mom's sister-in-law's sister. It was about 4pm, and my 2nd cousins invited us to go on a bike ride to a pond, since the air is great in the mountains. The next day, we caught the train to Kaohsiung. We walked around, viewing the city while looking for cheap but nice hotels. We came across Hotel Cosmo Kaohsiung. The day was spent relaxing. At night, we walked through Liu Ho Night Market and ate as if we didn't eat for days.
The family got up at 9am, heading to Sizihwan. We met Sister Strawberry who introduced us to their bicycle shop, where we rented 4 bicycles to ride around the city. We rode a ferry, with our bicycles, across to ChiJing. We explored the beach and had shaved ice. Around 3pm, we got back to Sizihwan; we decided to take the high-speed railway back to Taipei. Around 6:30pm, we got back; the train only took about an hour and a half to reach Taipei from Kaohsiung.
We also visited an old friend in Banqiao. There, we went sightseeing even more, and ate some delicious seafood. My parents and our friend caught up with each other while my sister and I explored around the majestic beach. In the afternoon, we went to Bali, where we rode the ferry over to Danshui. As we walked to the metro after a breathtaking day, we watched the amazing sunset.
Since Taiwan is small, there isn’t much space. Apartments cost more when houses in America are cheaper. Most people take the metro. People pray to their deceased family every day in a special memorial at home. Taiwanese people and Americans are similar, yet different in every way. Taiwanese culture is very unique, and after my trip, I have gained a new interest to Taiwan.
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