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Around Taipei – Tianmu with Hitomi

I finally made my way to one of the coffee shops I’d spotted on my run my first few days here when I ran into someone I recognized from the hostel!

I’d never spoken to her before but we hit it off so well that we made plans to meet up the next day and have a few adventures.

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I had a few things to do at the school so we had lunch at one of Hitomi’s favorite local lunch places and decided to meet up after I was done.

This tiny local hole in the wall was awesome! We sat down at one of the communal tables and ordered some vegetarian noodles. We grabbed a side dish of eggplant and were joined by a few other locals. The noodles were perfectly made with some kind of sesame sauce. It was so delicious and cheap! I’m definitely going to go back.

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Heading toward the school, the whole city has tons of living walls EVERYWHERE. Love it!

After I was done at the school I took the metro to a station up north and grabbed a public bus that would lead me to the bookstore we were going to meet at. I’m so glad to have Google maps on my phone. I don’t know what I would do or how I would get around this foreign city as easily as I do if it weren’t for this app. If I could send it some flowers and chocolate for Valentine’s day I totally would.

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So I managed to not get lost in a random part of the city I’ve never been to, found the bookstore, remembered she said she would be on the 3rd floor and arrived right before the live performance from Dawen Wang, originally based in LA, a Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter began to perform.

Hitomi had shown me a few of his songs the night before at the coffee shop so it was pretty fun seeing his acoustic set. He only played 3 songs with lots of talking in between each that I couldn’t understand, but I didn’t mind. My favorite song of the 3, and the only one I was able to understand, was “Shoes”. A hilarious little melody about bringing a girl back from the club and asking her to take off her shoes before she can step into his apartment.

After his performance he had a small autograph session. We noticed that everyone was getting his new album autographed so we pulled the foreigner card and pretended not to know nor notice. We went up with our notebooks and had him sign those. The manager did not look pleased but we just went straight to him and said hello. He was a super nice person and I got so distracted I forgot to ask for a photo! Oh well.

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Once Hitomi was done ogling (ok, I did a little bit as well. shhh!) we walked around the neighborhood where we spotted giant dogs that the owners were more than willing to have strangers take photos of. I definitely took advantage and got a photo with my favorite of the group.

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Tianmu has lush green hills surrounding it, and while we walked towards one of these hills I couldn’t help but think of how much it reminded me of San Francisco, with its hills and architecture and houses. By now my phone had died so I don’t have any photos, but I definitely want to go back and explore some more.

We went up a tiny nearly hidden staircase and climbed up a zillion stairs through a small neighborhood and stopped at a small landing with amazing views of main Taipei far out in the distance.

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At the temple, you can even offer up your candy and snacks. My kind of temple!

We finished off the evening with the Taipei Lantern Festival near the Yuan Shan MRT station.

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