Taiwan: Chinatown Island


Remember how I wrote about Christmas in China last year? It’s a little déjà vu-ey to be writing about being back in China over my winter break again, especially when I didn’t think I would be. (More on that later.) A little bit of Chinese history, to get us started. Before the 17th century, it was mainly inhabited by Chinese aborigines, so it’s got a bit of history all its own. However, in the 20th century Taiwan changed: it was relatively unaffected by the political movements of the Communist Revolution, but it received a lot of the Chinese that decided to move out. In fact, it is actually free from communist rule. If you visit Taiwan today, you’ll find a lot of ‘traditional’ Chinese culture that was brought over and preserved. They were allowed freedom, in a sense, to do their thing without a government and rule in flux. Kinda like an island of Chinatown, minus the fortune cookies, and plus 100% authentic food… Chinatown Island? Well, it’s not that simple. There is still a tension between mainland China and the islands of Taiwan, and if you’re a history buff like me, go read more about it yourself! However, for my purposes right now, Taiwan will be very much like China and Taiwan is one island. My point is, Taiwan has preserved some traditions of China in different ways. This is fantastic for: the lNight marketanguage, the sights, and (of course) the food. Disclaimer: while very Chinese, Taiwan also has a Japanese influence – see Taiwan history for why that is. Don’t worry: it’s not too much, just enough for you to get Japanese translations and eat good sushi at the Night Market. 😉

Now for a little geography! Taiwan is on the map for the Ring of Fire – that is, riding along the tectonic plates that continually rub against each other, creating mountains and valleys (depending on how they rub). For Taiwan, that has resulted in beautiful mountain ranges. Yesterday, I went and saw some. They are GORGEOUS. Yes, the water really is that color!

Hualian coast

While I have been to mountainous areas of China, I could never seem to create in my mind the depictions of mountain ranges that Chinese paintings do. Going here helped me fill in the gaps.The pictures don’t do these views justice. I wish you could see these for yourself, they really are amazing!

You might be wondering: “What are you doing in Taiwan?” Well, you probably aren’t. But just in case you were, I’m here with my mom for 5 days as a part of her 50th birthday present. My dad flies a lot for his job, and as a result, he has a lot of air miles that he can use for other trips. He allowed my mom to choose one destination and one person to go on a trip with her, as a birthday present (husband goals!). My mom said she wanted to go to Taiwan, with me. Woo hoo! After I heard the news, I figured: if we’re going on a trip all the way out to Taiwan, why don’t we make a stop along the way and make a long layover? So with a little sweet talk, we’re also going to Rome for 5 days – which I’m sure will be amazing. Yup, I am traveling a LOT! Honestly, I’m pretty proud of myself for surviving more than 24 hours of travel, so I’ll write something about that eventually. Regardless, I still have 3 days in Taiwan (AKA Chinatown Island)! I feel very privileged and blessed to be here, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my trip has in store. I’ll make sure to keep you posted!

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound and all that is in it -Psalm 96:11

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