Day 2, Tinan

We arrive to Anping castle in the morning. It’s hard to imagine that 400 years ago, the sea rested at the foot of the castle. Majority of Taiwanese ancestors arrived on the island from this location. During this era of geographic discovery, the native aborigines traded locally produced deer, sugarcane, and rice with the Japanese and Dutch. Because it is an important business hub, it has significant strategic value and is constantly the target of conquering forces. The numerous regime changes during the last four centuries occurred here rapidly. From the Dutch, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty, Japanese, and finally the KMT, Tainan has always been the capital of Taiwan, until under Japanese colonization the capital was moved to Taipei. However, Tainan has always been Taiwan's most important cultural capital, and to understand Taiwan, one must first learn about Tainan.

After visiting historical sights, of course it’s time to enjoy the food. Tainan is also known as the foodie capital of Taiwan. Rumor has it that after the fall of the Ming Cheng rulers, many of the imperial court chefs ended up working amongst the general population and bringing their cooking with them. We choose to go with the most local method of exploring the town, the motorcycle. Our local Taiwanese friends would, each one carrying one of our classmates, ride around to eat at local roadside vendors while admiring a different monument, zipping through the alleys and streets of Tainan. T

The ride is really awesome, despite initially thinking that it would be very dangerous thing. I never thought it would be so much fun, but we all enjoyed it greatly. Maybe its the wind blowing on our faces while we ride, the proximity of vehicles to us, the constant flow of pedestrians around us, or all of the lively sights and sounds of the street, but the experience is so authentic and local. It really gave us a full flavor of local life as well as the best Tainan cuisine. Come dusk when we had to say goodbye to our friends in Tainan, we reluctantly bid our farewell and watched them wave to us as we left. We were very stunned and also touched by the warmth of our Taiwanese friends. We are so grateful for spending a whole afternoon to accompany us, hang out, and provide detailed explanations of each attraction. We definitely felt the pride that Taiwanese have for their country and will always remember their warm friendship. We hope to visit Taiwan in the future to spend more time in this magical island.

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