Sunday, April 26, 2015

Travelogue: Asia Pacific - Part 2

People from office often ask me this, ‘So when are you going to Taiwan next?’. Their questions never stop there. They go on asking questions like, ‘Have you travelled to cities outside Taipei?’, ‘Have you explored XX cuisine?’ and then they take a halt, make a sad face and say, ‘Oops.. You are a vegetarian. What a pity you don’t eat meat but Taiwan is a beautiful country’. I don’t know about the country but Taipei definitely is beautiful and from the pictures that I see on the internet, many cities and towns are breathtakingly beautiful too. It apparently is in the list of one of the Top Trips to make in 2015.

National Taiwan University, the place from where he is doing his Post-Doctoral Research, could be the best university in the country but is a picnic spot for me (because I don’t see natural grass and butterflies in Guangzhou), for anyone who lives in a cemented jungle basically. The university has beautiful lakes surrounded by lush greenery, turtles, fish, swans and pigeons (not limited to them), wooden chairs and stools and coffee shops. While he is busy doing research in his office room, I while away hours looking at the lake or reading books lying on the green grass.

We have been to the Yangmingshan National Park which is in the outskirts of the city. It’s an ideal place for people who like climbing mountains or trekking. There are various trails and one can take them depending on their stamina and strength. We took the easiest ‘Flower trail’ and saw very interesting flora, a couple of snapshots follow.

White Rose

Heartful of Flowers

Pink Sakuras

There is Da’An Park very close to the university. We have been there couple of times. There are lakes here too and many interesting things around. Look at the picture below for an example. These stones are basically to exercise your feet. The park is filled with people on holidays. Some of them are there just to take good photography shots, others are there for their regular exercises, people like us go for a stroll whereas a few of them are there for Meditation.

Stones on the ground for exercises

A crane looking for its prey

As the last post clearly revealed our inaptitude towards understanding art, we will refrain from visiting Art Museums, at least for a while.

There are good Indian restaurants in the city, where people speak Hindi and play Bollywood music, and crave (if any) for the Indian food subsides for the time being. We keep going to this place named Masala House. I also like having vegetable dumplings from the University’s cafeteria sitting on one of those wooden benches on green grass and with him around in a silent manner.

The public transportation is quite good – both the public buses and MRT are easy to use. While some buses require you to swipe the card when getting on the bus, others expect the opposite. Bus drivers are polite and well dressed (they wear Ties too!) like America and they say ‘Ni hao’ (meaning Hello) to which most of the fellow passengers do not reply. The MRT here reminds me of the Metro in Delhi. Once when we came out on a MRT station, I wanted to shout, “This is Kashmiri Gate”.

Unlike China, many people can understand (if not speak fluently) English. In my upcoming trips to Taiwan, we would like to travel outside Taipei too. The following panorama is stitched using the new MICE from multiple photos (obviously) at one of the lakes in Da’An Park.

Flying Crane

Till I write the next travelogue post, Zaijian (meaning Bye).