Since we had to fly through Taipei to get back to San Francisco, we added a couple of days to our trip to indonesia and spent them looking around in Taipei. We arrived late at night from Jakarta, got some much needed rest, and went out the next morning to explore the precise list of things she had planned for us.
We stayed at the YCMA hotel, mostly due its convenient location metro-wise, and while it didn't have breakfast, there was plenty of food to be had outside:
We were very close to the Taipei Main Station
We started by going to the Confucius Temple, which was both pretty and very informative on the interesting life and teachings of Confucius:
Next, we went to the Bao-an Temple next door. Magnific rooms, and structures on the roofs:
After that, we went to 2/28 Peace Park and its museum that describes the so called 228 Incident where Taiwan massacred 10 to 30 thousand of its civilians starting Feb 28th 1947 to stop an uprising. We only went through the museum very quickly due to lack of time, but went through its park while we were there. I'll note that Taiwan is honest with talking about its past and doesn't try to hide it like China does:
I guess this summarizes what happened :-/
Next, we went to the very impressive National Ciang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Plaza:
nice socks :)
lots of people exercising and dancing around the plaza
we went inside the museum
We did a quick stop at the Red House which was on Jennifer's list, but turns out it wasn't what she hoped it would be, so we decided to quickly go to the Taipei 101 tower and got to the top just a bit before sunset:
the elevator reaches a super fast speed of 1000 meters/mn and gets you to the top in 37 seconds
The building has an impressive and visible damper to reduce building sway under the wind:
On the way out, we took some night pictures around:
To end the evening, we went to a night food market Jennifer wanted to see, unfortunately under some rain:
We had much fun trying to fish shrimp and the ones you could get out of the water, they would grill for you. The catch was the rope you had was very fragile and the shrimp would typically break it when fighting after you hooked them. We still managed to get 3 out of 7 hooks, not bad, and much fun:
And this was good for one long Day #1, and time to go to bed.
Day #2, we started by going to the President's Palace. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed in most of it inside, which is surprising and disappointing considering the very informative museums inside on the first floor. Among other things, it had a good
Next we went to see the Yat-Sen Memorial. Unfortunately the main hall was under renovation, so we saw a few rooms and headed out:
that's the best shot I could get inside sideways since it was being renovated
From there, we went to Dihua Street, known for its many food stores and street food vendors:
good shot from taipei 101 from there:
shark fins, shame shame shame...
and after the food, we saw a few nearby temples before another early sunset around 17:00:
bird nests, really?
some folks were doing some bingo like looking gambling
lots of offerings
more food in the streets for Jennifer
After sunset, we spent a bit more time around the Red House to see the streets full of stores:
I got some nice shaved ice with ice cream and strawberries :)
And before we knew it, we were back at the airport for our night flight back to SFO with Eva Air (another good plane with nice seats):
While it's true that we were coming from Jarkata which wasn't overwhelming, I was pretty impressed with Taipei. I feel bad for Taiwan now that they have lost a lot of tech revenue to China, and the impact this has on their economy now. In the meantime, I found the parts of the main city we visited quite clean, modern, pretty, and easy to visit. I realize that visiting Taipei in 48H is a bit short, but with Jennifer's advance planning work, I feel like we actually got quite a good overview, and the weather in December was quite pleasant, if we forget the short days sun-wise.
The subway was efficient and clean, part of it is that all food is forbidden in it:
On top of good subways, they also had rental bikes by the hour like many bigger cities do:
sexual harassment makes sexual harassment panda sad
They had old style crouch toilets and new ones. Also, they had clear signs of where things were :)
They are very careful about not spreading viruses. The west could learn from that:
don't spread your cold, good call
It was just a quick stop on our way back home, but I much enjoyed it and was happy to learn more about Taipei and a bit about Taiwan's history.
H1N1 is passé, don't get H7N9!