On our first night in Taipei the whole family ate dinner at Din Tai Fung, a world-famous restaurant for their steamed dumplings.
The chefs at Din Tai Fung prepare their dumplings with precision, each having exactly 21 grams and 18 folds to seal it.
Helen's Grandma gets to see her latest great-grandchild for the first time, the daughter of one of Helen's cousins.
Helen, her sister, and her parents at the National Taiwan University. Her parents are alumni.
Posing in front of a famous bell at NTU.
Taipei 101, currently the tallest building in the world. It was completed just prior to our arrival, and had its grand opening on January 1st, 2005, the day after our departure from Taipei.
Frank, Jody, and Peiwen at Taipei 101.
Taipei 101 is visible all over the city because of its general lack of tall buildings. Since the city is earthquake-prone, skyscrapers have only been constructed recently with the arrival of more advanced building techniques.
On-board a large ferris wheel that overlooks Taipei.
The city extends outward as seen from the ferris wheel. Note the high density of apartment buildings, the airport, and Taipei 101 in the distance. Taipei is one of the world's most densely populated cities.
Next, we visited an old movie theme park in Taipei. The park is clearly past its prime and is almost spooky with its lack of visitors. However, the sparseness leads to a certain charm that reminded me of the abondoned theme park in Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away."
Outside the castle walls and mote of the movie theme park.
More spokiness at the lonely theme park. This is the entrance to the haunted house.
An empty food stand.
Oh, finally another visitor.
Helen smiles for the camera.
A bird's eye view of the theme park seen from the "castle" walls.
The top of the castle walls.
Helen stands watch at the guard tower.
A bustling night market in downtown Taipei.
Catching the Taipei subway. Note how people line up in neat rows while waiting for the train. Never in America.
Helen, in front of the hospital where she was born.
Headquarters of the KMT, Taiwan's Nationalist political party.
A large group of Taiwan soldiers practicing their drills in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.
Inside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. It has a similar feel to America's Lincoln Memorial.
One of Chiang Kai-shek's old limousines on display in the museum.
A peaceful lake outside of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial.
Our next stop was the town of Danshui, just a few minutes ride outside of Taipei on the subway. The town has a pleasant harbor and quaint scenery.
A statue of Dr. George Leslie Mackay, a Canadian doctor who established Danshui's first western hospitals and schools.
Eating "Hello Kitty" waffles at a Hello Kitty cafe in Danshui.
Taking the train back to Kaohsiung from Taipei.