Day 9: Wrapping up the Conference and Sanxia

On the final day of the conference I took my time walking from my hotel to the conference venue.  It was a Sunday morning and it was quiet.  The sun was warm.  My commute took me through a cute residential area, then past some university building.  Did I mention it was quiet?

Here are some pictures of the University campus.

The first session of the day that I attended was our AODA (American Overseas Dietetic Association) main session on the nutrition care process.
Camella Rising, former AODA President, served as our moderator (she is on the right).
And Naomi Trostler, current AODA Awards Chair, was our presenter.  For an early morning session on the last day of a conference we had an excellent turn out!  And Naomi gave a fabulous presentation!
After the conference ended some of us had a post-conference tour booked.  Since I had already done most of the local tourist activities I picked the one that was a little further away and had not made it on my itinerary yet.  Luckily my friends were just as interested in the tour as I was and ready to sign up with me.  But before we left the conference center, we had to grab some lunch.  There wasn't much on the menu at the cafe in the center I could eat but I was able to enjoy this lovely fruit salad.
Then we all piled into a van and headed for Sanxia, a little ways out of the city in what is known as New Taipei City.

This picture is hard to see but I had to take a picture of what proves to me my "now I've seen it all moment".  Yes, this takes the cake.  It is a dog and cat dialysis center!  I suppose they need to get their treatments in too, but I can't imagine there are that many dogs and cats with kidney failure!  When they told us at the conference that the biggest health issue in Taiwan was kidney disease I didn't realize that also extended to pets!
After about an hour ride we arrived in Sanxia.  We passed this pretty temple on our way into the one of the main temples, the Zushi Temple.
As we had seen previously, these were very ornate with bright colors.
There were some markets going on outside of the temple area.

Of course food was a major highlight of the markets here.

After a (very) short walk we arrived at the Zushi Temple.  Now, I have to say, I have seen my fair share of temples throughout Asia, some more spectacular than others, but this temple really blew me away.  The detail was amazing and it had a vibe unlike others I had been too.  I knew as soon as we walked through the entry way that this was going to be a highlight of my trip.
I took a ton of pictures.  Some are just close ups of the intricate details in the wood and stone.  The details were amazing and they are so well preserved.  

Here is some of the beautiful stonework.
I loved these lanterns!

These were panels on the doors/windows.

Here is one of the roof structures.  There was a second floor in this temple and it was accessible, which was nice.
There were tons of these around.
This is looking back out the front from inside the main courtyard.
You can get a glimpse of the second floor balcony.

Tons of beautiful dragons to look at.

Another area with a lantern.  
This is looking down between two sections of the temple from the second floor.

The ceiling.
One of the upstairs rooms.

View of the front door from upstairs.
Here I am in the main courtyard.
And here I am just off to the side heading down one of the hallways to a back corner of the temple.
We spent a good bit of time walking around the temple and admiring the building and art inside.  It was definitely worth the trip outside the city.

Afterwards we were taken for a walk around the area surrounding the temple.  But first up was an interesting ice cream treat.  The cone was like a croissant that was supposed to be like a bull horn shape.
A few of us were curious enough to try one.  It was pretty good.
Here I am heading down the old walking street with my friend Cam.
It was a Sunday so it was busy in the shopping district and lots of activity going on.  There were even street performers.
Our last stop was a pottery factory and store, but I didn't take pictures there.  Sanxia is known for it's pottery.  Yes, I bought something!  Nothing too big, but I did get a nice piece that is currently sitting in my living room.  After we made our purchases we were treated to some coffee and tea while sitting in the fancy showroom.  Of course everything there was beautiful!
Once we arrived back in Taipei my friends and I headed out to the Shilin Night Market.  I had been with Ryan before and my friend Be a had also made a stop there, but the rest of our group didn't.  Plus, Cam was on the hunt for a squid on a stick (don't worry, I will get to that in a minute).

My first stop along the way was to get an egg wrapped in a pancake (kind of like a crepe).  I was excited to find that they were making these without meat.

It was really good!
And then we found the giant fried squid on a stick.  Unfortunately, as we soon discovered, it was not served like this!  Talk about false advertising!
The fun part was picking out your flavoring.  Lots of interesting options.
As you can see this was basically fancy fried calamari.  The good news was that despite not coming on a giant stick, it was still very tasty.
Right next to the squid I spotted a sign that said Frying Milk.  
Yes, I was so curious that I actually bought this.  It tasted a little like fried vanilla pudding or fried icing.  It was good, but way too sweet and there was only so much I could eat at one time.
Our next stop was to the basement food hall.  This place was insane!  If you are looking for local Taiwanese food and all things unique, this is the place to go.  The dining experience was very authentic and exactly what I would imagine for a food market in Asia.

This is what I am talking about.  These are small vendors with a few seats and the place is packed with hungry visitors.  So glad we made a stop downstairs even if this wasn't what any of us wanted for dinner.  We are adventurous, but this just wasn't what we were looking for for our last dinner in Taiwan.

Instead, we ended up at a Japanese restaurant.  I know, I know, that is the last place you would expect me to end up at for dinner on my last night in Taiwan.  But it was near my friends hotel and we all had to be up early the next day.  I had a bowl of soba.
I also had some root veggies.
We said our farewells and then I headed back to my hotel.  I found this in the subway station and stopped for a picture because I was so impressed.  I am so glad to see they are so supportive of breastfeeding!
The next morning I was up early to head to the airport and make my way back to northern Japan.  Taipei was amazing!  I am glad I was able to spend a week sightseeing with my husband there and then experience some more of the local culture with my dietitian friends from around the world.  I love the opportunities that AODA has provided me and I enjoy spending time with those colleagues while getting a chance to learn about nutrition in other parts of the world.  Taiwan was beautiful and the city of Taipei really surprised me.  I definitely recommend adding this to your travel list.  It was definitely worth it!

QUESTIONS:  What city have you visited that really surprised you?  Have you ever bought a piece of art while on vacation?  Is your city or country supportive of breast-feeding?

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