Our communications with Peter were not clandestine at all, it just sounded sweet.
Peter wouldn’t arrive until two days after we did, so we were on our own at first. We took a bus from the Taipei airport into the city, and walked to our hostel from there. I remember distinctly loving the city already during that walk. We commented on how it seemed like a big, happening metropolis like Bangkok, but much more peaceful and livable. We passed little restaurants and bars, and wound down residential streets that looked like the street my friend Scott lives on in Chicago.
Our hostel was central, right next to an awesome night market called Linjiang Street. Later in the week we visited the more famous Shihlin Market as well, which was really cool, but we preferred Linjiang. It was just a winding, bustling little street with lights and lanterns overhead, and every kind of stall and shop you could imagine: street food, desserts, beverages, sneakers, clothing, jewelry. Lots of fun.
 Insert douchey-traveler conversation in which we argue over which Taipei night market we prefer and why.
We did a little of this-and-that and explored the town until Peter got there. We hit up the world-famous Taipei 101, the fifth(?) tallest building in the world, and took the ride to the top. If you’re ever in Taipei, or ever in a place where there is an absurdly tall building that they charge $15 to go to the top, 20 Liter Life fully endorses it (we know you were itching for approval). It was badass! They had self-guided audio tours that took you around the windows and told you some interesting (and some ridiculously stupid) things about Taipei as you looked out over the city. Then we got to view the worlds largest “tuned mass damper” which is a huge-ass golden sphere that is suspended between the 92nd and 87th floors that sways to offset movements in the building caused by wind or other movements. Really fucking cool. Like, one of those things that really instill a sense of awe in the face of human ingenuity. Oh, and the observation deck was really cool and I wasn’t scary at all.
 I was scared as shit.
When Peter arrive we moved over to the Westin, where he was staying, which was a sweet upgrade from almost anything we’d stayed in on our trip. It was wonderful to see Peter. A familiar face – like Trevor & Julie in Switzerland, and John in Thailand had been – is always a beautiful thing while traveling. On the other side of the world, and we’re hanging with one of our best buddies – how bout that?
The rest of our stay in Taipei was awesome. Peter had been there several times before so he took us on some fun excursions including Din Tai Fung (best dumplings in the world) and the Maokong Gondola (which will get its own post, because it was one of the best days of the whole trip).
- We ate at a two-story McDonald’s with a bizarre children’s playplace/puppet show stage area.
- Got cream puffs from Beard Papa, complete with the workers behind the counter singing to us after we placed our order (I guess it’s a thing?)
- Peter and I had a Meeting of the Minds over breakfast at the Westin. That’s how deals get made and contracts get inked, people.
- A bizarre American dude we met in the hostel who, said “hit me up on YouTube” and gave us his YouTube handle when we were parting ways [as if it were a totally normal way of keeping in touch… (it’s not)]. This same guy set out to physically destroy property at a bar we were at because he wasn’t fond of his encounter with the bartender. Interesting fellow.
- I photographed the office of a tech company that a friend of mine works with. It was a cool experience and I got some sweet photographs.
- We met two Germans and their Taiwanese friends outside of “Barbie Cafe,” an institution so bizarre that we obviously had to check it out. We ended up not eating there because it was absurdly expensive, but we got some damn fine photos. The new friends were also really fun company.
- I sat next to the most adorable girl of all time on the gondola ride.
- We had coffee at the most beautiful coffee truck location on the planet on our hike down from the gondola ride.
- I went for a long walk and ended up in a cool tea store where the owner and his family sat me down and had me sample their teas.
The following are (way too many) pictures from our time in Taipei.
Alley right by where we were staying, near Linjiang Night Market.
This seafood burger with rice bun was pretty damn good.
I photographed a tech company’s office in Taipei, this mural was in the office.
Shilin Night Market food court.
Shilin Night Market. Spot Franklin!
Linjiang Night Market.
Peter looking fly.
Din Tai Fung dumplings.
The National Theater.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.
The Maokong Gondola ride.
“Cats got nothing to do cafe” aka the coolest place on earth.
Tea Promotion Center tasting.