Our last full day in Taipei was a bit of a bust. We visited the Lin Family Mansion in the morning but it’s kind of run down and has some strange architectural things going on, like a mix of Chinese and western. We headed back to Ximending for lunch at Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles (again) since it was so good the first time around and we couldn’t find the other place we were looking for. The broth is made from a bonito flake base, the thin noodles are rice flour, and the bits of chewy animal things are smoked pig intestines, which weren’t bad. Visited the Longshan temple again afterwards. Came across a pro communist rally near the market – loud, very old fashioned tinny nationalist-sounding music blaring, competing with barking from the megaphones. They were struggling with the sound system and not getting much attention from folks passing by so I think Taiwan is safe for now. Note that Beijing is very adamant that Taiwan is part of China (aka, One China, which is also the US official policy) but the Taiwanese not so much, even demoting Chang Kai-shek as an unwanted Chinese ruler. On a side note, we also saw some vehicles driving around with what appeared to be pro-USA signs and announcements, flying US and Taiwanese flags.
That afternoon we headed out to the Beitou hot spring area to check it out and maybe soak a bit. However when we got out there it was late and hot, we were tired and hot, and the springs were a bit of a hike from the metro stop so we headed back – no soak. Dinner that night was right next door to our hotel (once again at the staff’s recommendation). We had the desk clerk write down some typical Taiwanese dishes. We used that to order beef noodle soup, fried rice with fried pork cutlet, scallion pancakes, and steamed cabbage, and maybe 3 Taiwan beers. It was great. The flavors were wonderful and the cow stomach bits in the soup were interestingly chewy. It was a nice ending to a relatively modest sightseeing day.