John and the Cisco guys go to Taipei again -- April 2002

This time we actually had a business reason to be in Taipei on Monday and Tuesday. But we decided to go a day early and do some touristy stuff on Sunday.

Actually, we got in on Saturday night. So, after checking in at the hotel, we took taxis over to the Snake Alley Tourist Night Market. Our party of five, by the way, consists of John, Mike, Frank, Carson, and Mac.

This time at Snake Alley, we really did see a snake being gutted. Frank also located a restaurant there that was recommended to him by a random person at SFO just before we left. At this restaurant, you pick your own seafood from the tanks outside, and then go in and they serve it to you. It was good, but pricey. After the meal, we went to the Buddhist temple as well as to a special Chinese drugstore to get special Chinese medicines for Frank's wife. Unfortunately, both were closed. So, we went down another shopping street and Carson got a tee shirt for his teenage daughter; then we headed back to the hotel. And here I am, sitting up like some idiot, and writing this web page! Good night for now...

So, here I am awake again, after a very busy sightseeing day on Sunday, almost 13 hours of continuous activities. We started the day with breakfast at the best Chinese noodle place in Taipei, one of the world's 10 best restaurants in the world according to an article in the New York Times a couple years ago. You wouldn't think so to look at the place, but the food sure was good! Then it was on to the Chiang Kai Shek memorial where we saw changing of the guard and CKS's limos; the Chinese National Museum with cool jade and lots of other stuff; the new, huge soccer ball shopping center (both were huge -- the ball and the center -- 11 floors of stores); the weekend jade market; the metro (the subway, not the opera!); and the huge, crowded weekend night market at Shihlin.

On Monday and Tuesday we went by van to Hsinchu (50 miles away from Taipei) to visit Taiwan's two famous semiconductor companies, UMC and TSMC. A highlight of both days was a fab tour, where we got to dress up in bunny suits and tour the ultra-clean chip-making facilities. No pictures allowed inside, of course!