Lady Cats Blog: 3 Great Days in Taipei
By Lady Cat Hali
October 19, 2012
Day 1 in Taipei
Late to bed early to rise - I think our excitement snuck up on us around 3 a.m. the night of our arrival because we all woke up tweeting each other (you have to love social media). We were ready to see Taipei!
We were the first in line for breakfast scoping out the assortment of options. Sheraton Taipei could easily prepare one of the most appetizing, mouthwatering breakfast menus around. This was our first taste test at Taiwanese cuisine. Passion fruit, dragon fruit and puff pastries, oh my! I believe we each had two plates and were passing them around to taste. This was a great way to start our day.
We then made our way through the city (quickly – they don’t play on the road) and arrived at Taipei 101. At the same point in time, our mouths simultaneously dropped as we arrived at the third tallest building in the world! Of course we needed a quick photo op before making our way in. The Love Sculpture by Robert Indiana – an iconic design – was what we fell in love with. It truly represented the love we share as a team and the love we possess for what we do.
As we entered, Gordon, Abbey and Sam (our amazing hosts) scheduled a luncheon at Din Tai Fung, which was on the first of many floors at Taipei 101. This restaurant was unquestionably known for their delicate, small, steamed dumplings. We passed around pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings and a combination of the two. We were prepped on how to make a small hole in the dumpling to taste the soup inside prior to indulging in the cuisine. Those dumplings were full of flavor!
With our tummies full, we made our way up to the top floor of Taipei 101. The view was breathtaking! While there, we learned about our surroundings and the significance of the wind damper. We were also green screened into a photo with Taipei 101!
Our next stop was shopping! We were fascinated with all the boutiques and outdoor shops on the streets. Our security guard, Daniel, was a great help during this process and was there for whatever we needed.
Saving the best for last on the first day, our hosts treated us to an authentic deep tissue Thai foot massage! (Talk about heaven) The massage therapists started off with our shoulders and heads while our feet soaked in an oily mud bath. These guys have to be the best in the world because we were all silent in relaxation when they started on our feet! (Except Lady Cat Lindsay she’s extremely ticklish, haha) I feel like I learned so much about the different pressure points in your feet that can release tension through many different areas of your body.
The foot massage topped off our evening and we were ready to rest up for our next day of excitement, performing, touring and engaging with the amazing Taiwanese fans.
Day 2 in Taipei
Energize for the day – an early morning Lady Cat workout was in store. We met in the Sheraton Taipei Gym to get in stretching, abs, legs and cardio work before our performance that afternoon. While in the gym, Lady Cat Kia and I learned some new abs workouts from the Dunk Team! We will be taking that back to the states. We also took it to the rooftop pool area to practice our routines. We felt confident and were anticipating performing for and meeting all the fans! Time to get ready: uniforms – check, sneakers – check, lashes – check!
As our bus pulled up to the NTU Gymnasium it became so surreal what a blessing we were partaking in. Lady Cat Jen took a second to reflect and show our appreciation for what we were about to do. Spreading the love of the NBA, the excitement to the fans and experiencing the game of basketball internationally was so special to each of us. As we entered the Sprite Uncontainable Game Finals we felt the energy, the love and we all got chills. The fans in Taipei are without a doubt some of the most amazing fans we’ve encountered – it felt like the hometown Charlotte love.
The lights went low. “And now your Lady Cats!” We ran out and performed one of our favorite routines with smiles on our faces feeling the liveliness and love from each fan in the arena. As we finished, there was a quick media session and photo op. As the announcer was introducing us one of my teammates said, “Ni Hao, I’m Lady Cat Brooke.” (Hi in Taiwanese) The crowd went crazy and loved that she wanted to relate and show appreciation for them, their culture and their city.
After our second performance, we helped present the awards and take photos with the Uncontainable Game winners along with Jay Chow.
First event + first time performing + first time with the fans = success.
Time to Eat! The hosts took us all to a restaurant called Alleycat’s which served up the most delicious stone-oven-baked pizza in Taiwan! (Not to mention the apple pie pizza and tiramisu) Between us and the Dunk Team, we cleared 10 pizzas! Alleycat’s was just a street over from the infamous night markets! We were so excited to experience. Everywhere you looked, there was a different market selling items. (Talk about Lady Cats’ dreams come true) It didn’t matter how tired we were because we stayed at the night markets until midnight! We found interesting jewelry, great shoes, Taipei T-shirts and so much more! Unlike the states, you are able to bargain with the sellers. (This was fun and our security guard Daniel was a pro at it) We literally shopped until we dropped.
Then it was back to the hotel with bags in hand and time to rest up for our second event the following day.
Day 3 in Taipei
Talk about a good night’s rest – the Lady Cats got just that! Today we traveled to Taoyuan City to visit the Coca-Cola Museum! As we were pulling into the lot, we noticed the stage, the Sprite banners and standups along with many people ready for the show! This turned our excitement level up from a 10 to an 11! We were greeted and immediately brought up to the BIG office. (This would be such a cool place to work) They gifted us with a hand made Coca-Cola tea mug. This was so sweet and a neat memento to take home. We also noticed the Sprite bottles were blue, which made us question the flavor. Lady Cat Lindsay immediately nailed it – Mint Sprite! Hopefully we’ll get that here in the states soon! (Yum)
Time to perform! We walked outside and the crowd had tripled! We got into place for our performance and the fans roared; it is so easy to perform your best when those around you are supporting you so highly. After the performance we took photos with every fan, signed autographs and passed out our posters. One amazing fan even ran up and performed the trick I did during our routine! That was so meaningful to us and we loved it!
Soon after our performance, they graciously took us on a tour of the Coca-Cola Museum in which every route we took had a unique theme. The illustrations allowed us to understand the history and detail of Coca-Cola at a glance. At one corner we walked directly into an old Coca-Cola soda shop! There was also a Coca-Cola tree that represented the design of the logo for each different country! It was all so fascinating. Lady Cat Jen found the gift shop and took some photos with Coca-Cola merchandise, Lady Cat Kia and I decided to do some tricks in front of the logos, Lady Cats Kristin and Lindsay found the well-known Coca-Cola polar bear and Lady Cat Brooke was shooting some hoops at the Sprite paraphernalia section. We had a blast!
Do we really have to head home so soon? That was our main thoughts on the bus ride back to the hotel.
This entire experience was such an honor for the Lady Cats to be involved with. We truly are so thankful and blessed to represent the NBA and Charlotte Bobcats in such a huge way making a positive world impact on the sport of basketball and the community we represent as a whole.
We want to send a BIG thank you to everyone involved and especially to the Taiwanese fans for welcoming us so warmly.