Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Taipei: Always Awake!

I have been awake for about 36 hours straight! This is NOT a healthy habit, so I definitely don't suggest it, but the last 36 hours of my life went something like this:
4 AM~ Insomnia
8:30 AM~ Work
5:30 PM~ Off work and walk 30 min. to meet with friends
6 PM~ Go to TongHua Night Market with friends
12 AM~ Go to Party World KTV at XiMenDing with friends
5 AM~ Walk to Chang Kei-Shek Memorial Hall for the flag-raising
6 AM SHARP~ Flag-raising
7:30 AM~ Go to office
8:30 AM~ Begin work again
12:30 PM~ Go home and shower and blog!

I met up with two Taiwanese and one American-Born Taiwanese friend (just like me!) for this fantastic adventure. Evelyn pointed out how Taiwan has so many 24-hour shops. Of course the convenience stores (7-11, Family Mart, Hi-Life, OK Mart) are all open 24 hours a day, but now there are also grocers, Watson's (a pharmacy type shop like Walgreen's in the USA), and other random shops like a massage parlor near my work, some restaurants/eateries/fast food, and I've even seen 24-hour conveyor belt sushi! Internet cafes are also commonly open forever.

Today I would like to share just a bit about the KTV in Taiwan. Note that I have never been to anything like KTV in the USA because Minnesota does not have them, as far as I know. There are karaoke bars, but you have to sing in front of a bar full of strangers, and that is DEFINITELY not something I would be interested in! The east and west coasts probably have KTV where you can rent a room with friends and get food and sing together.

KTV rooms are really nice and since most public transportation stops at midnight, it's a fun and relatively cheap place to spend the night until around 6 AM when everything starts running again.

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Me and Christy at Party World (錢櫃)

With four of us, the cost was NT$335 (~US$12) per person for six hours of singing with NT$399 total "budget" for food from the menu. You can order more food and just pay the difference. We slipped in some beer in our bags so we wouldn't have to pay for the alcohol at the KTV. I find that this is a nice way to have a fun night without spending too much money

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It was light out by the time we came out! Evelyn, Christy, and I are marveling at the UBike stands that have just been installed at XiMenDing. It's a renting bike system that is expanding. Actually, I have no idea how to use it but it's great and I've seen many other people using it :P I just haven't had to go anywhere that wasn't work and home recently.

The next part may sound boring, but it was actually sort of cool. I haven't attended a flag-raising since the one at the president's hall for Taiwan 100th birthday at New Year's.

We went to the one that happens every morning at Chang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The precision that the personnel in charge of the flag-raising do is very ritualistic and cool.

There are definitely way cooler photos of Chang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall online, but I took some photos too!

This is one of the performance halls:
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This is the actual memorial:
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The flag-raising ceremony began exactly as the sun began to peek over the top of the buildings in the distance and the national anthem was played. There were very few people there, but many older people exercising in the open area. Open area is very difficult to come by in Taipei! The entire ceremony was very peaceful and really quite awesome to watch. I'm a little embarrassed that I've lived here for three years and only just attended one ceremony now.

Sorry I don't have more photos. My cell phone was running out of battery by this point!