End of Official Quarantine

End of Official Quarantine

Quarantine in Taiwan is 14+7, meaning strict quarantine for 14 days, and 7 days of self home management where you should avoid public areas, but if you must go out you need to wear a face mask at all times. I finally finished my 3 weeks of quarantine and was eager to enter into the Covid-free world, but unfortunately Taiwan announced its first community spread in 253 days. The origin of the case was traced to a Kiwi cargo pilot who failed to wear a mask when he had been coughing in the cockpit, and thus infecting his co-pilots. On top of that, while he was infectious he visited 3 malls. Needless to say, the Taiwanese people are upset. There is a possibility that the pilot will lose his job if the airline finds that he hadn’t followed masking protocols. There is no messing around in this country when it comes to COVID management.

Our first day out was packed with activities. First stop was to pick up some free 湯圓 (sweet rice balls) at the community center.

Everyone was here for the free rice balls!

However, before we could collect the goodies we had to sit for a brief talk. Reminds me of those timeshare pitches at Mexican resorts. Luckily, it was a very brief talk by the community leader wishing everyone a happy winter solstice.

This must be the retiree life.
Who doesn’t like free?

Then we were off to lunch.

Life on a Taiwan subway is pretty normal other than universal masking.

When in Taiwan, there is one thing one must try.

鼎泰豐 (Ding Tai Fung) right outside the subway exit.
The dumpling mascot

Yes, they have branches in other countries including Costa Mesa in SoCal. However, having tried several branches in different countries (as well as the local branches in Taiwan), none are as good as the original branch on XinYi Rd. That is why I rarely bother going to the one that’s a 30-minute drive from home back in CA.

This XinYi branch is so popular that they have a second branch located within walking distance. During normal times (i.e., pre-Covid days), it is nearly impossible to get a table because of all the tourists.
However, we are not in normal times, so the wait was only 20-30 minutes.
Not too crowded
The famous soup dumplings – quite honestly, if you come here, just get these and don’t bother with the other items on the menu.
Vegetarian dumplings – not a must have, but a good option for strict vegetarians.

Across the street from 鼎泰豐 is Sun Merry bakery, which is another joint we have in Irvine, but not as nice as this one.

Dessert after lunch was at Smoothie House, which is conveniently located around the block. This joint was featured on CNN a few years ago. So you can imagine it’s another popular tourist spot.

Luckily for us, there was not a single customer in sight. One, there are no tourists, and two, who eats ice during winter?
Mango ice cream on top of sweetened milk flavored ice with taro balls and mango pieces. There’s never a bad time for ice, just bundle up if you’re cold. Must be honest, I prefer the Matcha ice at Class 302 in SoCal.

Afterwards, we stopped by SOGO to get Nespresso pods for mom and dad.

Dad having a free cup of coffee. I swear the man should be the spokesperson for the phrase “The best things in life are free”.
Before heading back, we ducked into a 7-eleven. For 109NT ($3.80) this is on the list of things to try.

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