This last weekend, 11 of the MBA full time students flew to Taipei for a long weekend. Two of our classmates on the trip grew up there and have family there, so we all knew we were in for a treat. Some of us had Thursday night class, so Friday morning we woke up early and caught a reasonably early flight out. One of the most glorious parts of Hong Kong is that you can book a 10:15 flight and not have to leave campus until 8. ***I am not liable for any missed flights, courtesy this horrendous advice***
We all arrived and dropped our backpacks off at the hotels before immediately making the pilgrimage to Din Tai Fung and stuffing ourselves with excessive amounts of Xiao Long Bao and cold appetizers. Everything costing half of what it does in Hong Kong, it was far too easy to keep ordering. From there it was straight to a beer bar and Taipei 101 for a taste of the local culture and a few ridiculous tourist pictures. One of our classmates on the trip had an old friend who founded IMPCT: Coffee for the future, and we were lucky enough for our trip to coincide with a tasting and a “meet the farmer” event going on that night. So we headed there to learn from the source about Guatamalan coffee and the bean business.
Another amazing dinner recommendation later and we were out at one of Taipei’s famous night clubs. Amazing DJs, bartenders who immediately considered us friends, and a drink or two later made it a memorable night.
The next day everyone slowly stumbled out of bed to make it to a spectacular lunch of beef noodles with a classmate, her husband, and her amazingly cute 4 and 5 year old kids. Luckily the kids were patient with us, because after that we dragged the whole family to a really interesting Artist Village that some local friends of ours had recommended. It was an old Taiwanese native village that was nearly engulfed by Taipei. It was nestled in behind the Treasure Hill Temple, and it had been preserved as a gallery and arts district. We spent the afternoon enjoying more amazing coffee and experiencing what some of the talented local artists had created in these small houses on the hillside.
We all needed a bit of a siesta after that, so we went home and regrouped a few hours later at the oldest night market in Taipei, the Raohe Street Night Market. Once again, we feasted. I know, it’s becoming a bit of a theme. An hour and a half later of slowly and steadily eating some of the best food any of us had ever sampled, trying stinky tofu, tasting xiaolongbao, which is better than Din Tai Fung and even drinking some spectacular smoothies, left us completely full. It was time for our classmate to show us his favourite lounge in Taipei, Franks rooftop under Taipei 101. We once again met up with some really fun people. A few of our local friends came out and a few more friends on other MBA exchanges we had met along the way joined us. We had another couple of drinks while lounging under a stunning view of the stars. Like any proper Taipei trip, our last night ended at Kareoke. While we were a bit disappointed that the room didn’t have Oasis, our classmates’ love of the Backstreet Boys made up for that in pure entertainment value.
On Sunday, we woke up at the disgustingly early hour of 10:30 am and managed to make our flights back to Hong Kong just in time for a few of us to meet some of our non-full time friends in Central for a group project.