Saturday, April 3, 2010

Asian Adventure_Taiwan

Part 2- Taipei, Taiwan

Finally we arrived at the conference location. We had two days to explore
around the city before we had to get serious about MUN. So after finally figuring out
our messed up reservation at the hotel, we all showered and got prepared for our first SAFE
asian adventure. We started walking around and ended up in a really cool park. Asians are all
about the fitness and this park was basically an outdoor gym, which we all ran around and played
on for about an hour. After that we set on a mission to find Taipei 101-the second tallest building in the world. The map we had was only in Chinese so it took us about and hour and a half walking in one direction to realize we were walking in the wrong direction. We gave up and got in some taxis and finally reached Taipei 101. Ohmygod. It was so amazing and we went at the perfect time the sun was setting and it was basically empty there was no wait to get to the top. Well it took us 36 seconds to get to go up 90 floors, you go up so fast that your ears actually pop, intense. When we got to the top you could really see how big of a city Taipei was, Rome seemed tiny compared to this city. Amazing though being able to see the sunset and then watch the city virtually light up. After we finished exploring around the top two floors we were all intent on getting some good Chinese food. I had an obsession with getting spring rolls which no restaurants actually have :(. Well the food was amazing at dinner we had to go to a restaurant that had a lot of pictures so that we could actually order something. I ended up getting this amazing fish dinner that was so spicy my face turned bright red and I was basically crying, but it was still really good. Then we all decided to get beers from the 7-11 and throw a little fiesta at the hotel. It ended up being so much fun and all 10 of us laughed the entire night.
The next day the guys went to a baseball game and the girls decided to go shopping/exploring. Kate, Hannah, and I woke up really early and hit the streets. First stop this amazing bakery, I seriously loved this bakery they had so much garlic bread I ate it every day. After the bakery we ventured into a million shops and ended up getting a few things but at this point it was raining and our umbrellas were back at the hotel. On the way back to the hotel we stopped in this shoe store, which was selling all italian shoes anyway but we met a guy who was Taiwanese and he had lived in Texas for 12 years. His english was perfect but it was a riot because he spoke with southern accent and said ya'll but he gave us some good places for shopping and some information on the night markets. When we reached the hotel we rested for a few minute and figured we wouldn't let the rain ruin one of the only free days we had left in Taipei. So we walked in the opposite direction in search of some cool shops markets, or something. After walking into a random spot, we did find a market, It had everything. There was a man getting his hair cut right next to a butcher who I watched kill a chicken right before my eyes. I was shocked. This area was clearly where tourists rarely venture. After walking all around the market we started out again and this time we found a park with chickens and cats running everywhere, this is how I imagined Asia ( Thanks to Mulan) After we figured that we should try some of the street food, honestly it was one of the best decisions we made. The food was incredible. I kept it on the safe side and just ordered the noodles, the meat was too intimidating. The noodles though, AMAZING. They were cold noodles with a sort of creamy peanut sauce, I ended up adding a ton of this spicy sauce, which only made it better. My first street food experience was to say the very least, a success. As the adventure continued we stumbled about The National University of Taiwan. This is the University that was hosting the WorldMUN conference. So we too it upon ourselves to invite ourselves in. CLEARLY, we didn't go there, everyone was starring at us but we didn't care. It was really cool to see how a university in asia works we event went into classrooms. Well finally Kate decided she had to go to the bathroom so Hannah and I waited outside for her. Out of the blue we here this alarm going off( coming from the bathroom) and Hannah and I just thought it was some sort of bell system the university used. Well, we were wrong. very very wrong. Kate came running up to Hannah and I and said "we need to leave right now" In a very worried voice. She had set off the alarm!! We very quickly left the university but not without laughing our heads off first. After a bit more adventuring around we called it a day and went back to the hotel to grab the others for dinner. That night for dinner we went to a sushi restaurant which was amazing and I got dumplings, (Yay!) They were amazing, and after a few us went out for drinks at this bar that was covered in animal fur.
Day 1 of the Conference. The venue was the Taiwanese International Conference Center, everything was basically perfect, except that it was hot and we were all sweating haha. After we registered it was time for the opening ceremony. You would never guess who came to speak to us. The President of Taiwan came and it was amazing I was ten rows away from the President of the Republic of China. Who am I? Well listening to him speak, and being at the opening ceremony got everyone fired up for the conference and it all started that night at Global Village.
Global Village isn't that hard to explain, its more or less a house party for nerds. It was amazing to say the very least. Our team represented Italy, along with two other Italian universities. We were all dressed head to toe in Italian jerseys and Roma shirts. We went crazy dancing, and met a ton of people from all over the world,hence the name WORLDMUN. It was amazing and really set a precedent for the rest of the conference.
Moving on, the next day the conference got started and I was in the Social and Humanitarian Committee. I made some serious moves and worked with the African Union and we got our draft resolution on the board first. After a long day of debate I was ready for some fun in the evening.
All of us figured the famous night market would be the best choice. So we jumped in cabs and made our way to this amazing night market. We had a spice-off between all of us;it ended up being that we all LOVED spicy food so we made it a point to always out spice each other. After our little dinner we all wanted to do some shopping in the night market. We walked around to a bunch of stands and shops, it was really cool and everything was really Asian. When we figured it was time to head out we stopped in a bakery and got a ton of this pastries and cakes. I love cake, seriously. Anyways we went home because the next day was a big day for the conference and we had to focus on the rights of refugees.
Day 3 of the conference was an early day (again ) and we had a morning session that flew by quickly. Kate and I ended up sitting next to some really sweet girls from Abu Dhabi, and I impressed them with my amazing arabic speaking skills. They laughed, naturally, and we ended up hanging out with them for the rest of session. After the debate was over for the day we wanted to go to the biggest night market in Taiwan. But first we had to do some laundry, ( 20 days is really hard to pack for) We found the laundry mat and it was empty so it was really easy to get out stuff done quickly. While we were waiting for our stuff to wash we ventured to this little side street. We saw a little stand with fresh dumplings. I tried the one that looked green, because green means vegetables and that is less intimidating than meat. It ended up being the most amazing thing I had the entire trip. It was this green vegetable I had never had before with noodles. so good. When we went to check back on our laundry we found out that there was a dryer that was HUGE, it probably could have fit like 4 people in it easily, it was hilarious and we couldn't stop laughing when we actually did fit 4 of us in there. When we finished the laundry, we went back to this dumpling place, and this time being more brave I tried the meat dumpling. Best decision I made all day, It was some sort of pork and was delicious.-Kate and I made it a point to come back to this dumpling place, almost every day until we left Taipei. Finally we were off to the biggest night market in Taiwan. The shopping was amazing since it was only Davide, Kate, and I it was really easy to get around and look in a million shops. At one point I spotted a spring roll stand. Since I had this long running obsession with getting a spring roll in an asian country I was so excited to finally eat one. Well no thank you. When they mean sweet and sour, they really mean sweet and sour THEY PUT SUGAR IN EVERYTHING. why? I dont know? but I don't like it. Anyways after i took a few bites of my terrible terrible spring roll, we were on to the next. This market was huge and we found the section with the animals. They were so cute all these little puppies who looked so sad and adorable and I just wanted to take them home. When it was all said and done and we were exhausted we made our way back to the hotel.
On the final day of the conference we had a session really early in the morning which ended early because we finally passed a draft resolution. With the spare time, the entire committee took the time to have a talent show, which was hilarious. It was sad too, a whole week together and now we had to separate. BUT not without going crazy at a club first. After the session we went to this crazy mall with all 10 of us. It was in the shape of a golf ball which I thought was funny. We ate and then walked to the closing ceremony where all the awards were given, it was seriously an amazing week. With the conference officially over, Kate and I hit the streets in Taipei once again. We shopped till it was time to get ready for the final social event. We all went to this club and everyone from the conference was there. I seriously went crazy dancing, it had been a long, stressful, but fun week.
The next day we woke up early in order to get the most out of our last day before heading off to Thailand that night. We all packed and a few of the members of our delegation left early on in the day. We went for lunch all together before the girls left for Thailand. One last stop at the bakery and then the final stop at the dumplings spot. Taipei, Taiwan was amazing and the experience was incredible.

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