Finally I managed to get up early enough and visited the Longshan Temple. It’s very easy to get there, because it has it’s own MRT station and only a small park is between them. So I arrived at exactly the right time. In the park were so many people and it was so lovely to see them interact with each other. I saw street artists, people selling snacks and a group of old folks, watching a game of Mahjong (judging from their reaction every time a player made a move there must have been high stakes).
The temple looks quite impressive from the outside, definitely one of the bigger ones and the streets surrounding it felt like ancient Taipei. If you’re interested in the temple you could watch “Monga – Gangs of Taipei”, which mainly takes place in this neighborhood. The moment I stepped in I was welcomed by a spiritual atmosphere. When I reached the temple’s center, a prayer started and literally everyone around me joined in. Sadly my Chinese is far from being useful in this environment so I walked slowly and in silence through the masses. It was a great feeling and even though I only captured a glimpse of it on video, I still hope one is able to imagine how special this moment seemed.
After a while a slight headache caused caused by the smoke forced me back on the street. I decided to take a look at the famous tattoo street at Ximending. I wasn’t able to fun just by walking through the streets on my own and ended up at the same stores over and over again. I decided to eat first and ask someone after I filled my stomach. Without breakfast I quickly decided to go to a western style restaurant before bothering with a Taiwanese one to figure out what’s suitable for a vegetarian. In the back of a store a Taiwanese invited me to go up the stairs and that’s how I ended up at The rolling cafe. They sell American style food and I was to hungry to look any further. Turns out it was good decision! I ordered onion rings, quiche, and cheese fries. The last dish was by far the best. The fries were cut out of fresh potatoes, very crispy, and still soft on the inside. On top was a lot of cheese, such a sin but so tasty!
Taiwan’s international cuisine seems to be worth it’s money and deserves some respect. In the future I might wonder into some more western style restaurants. I stayed longer than I originally planned (they had MTV running on the TV and for a change they showed some music: the full concert of Sam Smith). I stayed until the personal changed and that was pretty lucky coincidence again! One of the waiters had a lot of tattoos so I decided to ask him where I got them. His English was at the same level as my Chinese. He gave up explaining the way to the street and let me there himself. And you won’t believe what happened next…