New Years, 101 January 1 isn’t the same as Chinese New Year, but it is still a big event. It was even bigger than Christmas. Around Christmas time there were some decorations in the city area, some of the Westernized stores played Christmas music, but atmosphere didn’t feel like Christmas at all. Schools still even had classes that day! But on January 1 we had vacation. On New Years Eve, most people in Taipei go to Taipei 101, the tallest tower in the city, and in the world (at this time it was still the tallest in the world) where they can watch a beautiful fireworks display. Even people come from other cities in Taiwan to see. My friends and I planned to go see it as well, despite the warnings we received from other people. Around 6:30pm class ended, Jamili, one of my classmates from St. Vincent told me “You’re going to 101? You should have left at 2 in the afternoon! More than half of Taipei is there already!” Jamili has lived in Taipei for one year already. One of the girls in the dorm, Mariana from El Savador, warned me again, “Don’t even try taking the MRT! (Metro Rail Transportation) Last year it took us three hours to get on, and an hour to get there!” And another classmate, Julia, a Korean student who has studied in Taipei for two years told me, “Last year I went with a friend in their car. But there was such a big traffic jam, we never made it. So we climbed on top of the car and watched the fireworks in the distance. We didn’t get back home until 4am!” My friends and I knew what we were getting into, but went anyway. Besides, we never knew when we would be together in Taiwan again, or if we would have another opportunity to see a display like this. So we met at the MRT at 8:30pm, all thirteen of us. The station was crowded, but there was no line to get on the train. When we got off at the Taipei Main station to switch trains, it was crowded there but it was like any other day. Only difference were more police controlling the people. Our group got separated, but reunited at Sun-Yat Sen Memorial hall. It was crowded there also, but not like how I pictured based on what I heard from others. We walked straight through the memorial area to the Taipei City Hall with no problem. In the memorial area there were people with sparklers, small fireworks, necklaces and headbands that light up, and of course the small vendors selling snacks. We found a spot of the ground near the Taipei City Hall, with a close view of Taipei 101. There were stages nearby where musicians performed. The crowds grew as the hours went on. Around countdown time, the tower turned off all its lights inside and people outside all stood to face the tower. Afterwards, fireworks in all different colors burst from 101, creating a beautiful display. On the building, the letters “Taipei 2010 Up” were shown. Lucy, my roommate who’s also a Taiwanese local told me, “A successful Taiwanese noodle company that displayed this to promote a better economy for Taiwan this year.” Afterwards most crowds left, but a good amount of people stayed and watched performances, or tried to go into restaurants nearby. The lines of people wrapped around the restaurant inside and out. The MRT and buses didn’t start running again until almost 2am. We didn’t get back to our station until 3am, though from the looks and livliness of Shi Lin Night Market, it seemed like it was only 8pm. We all had fun watching a once in a lifetime display, and were happy to enjoy each other’s company as our fair-well date drew closer.