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kiting, diving, trippin' I ain't never been lost, just confused for a few days - Daniel Boone

Taipei touring

TAIWAN | Monday, 17 December 2012 | Views [885]

Sorta makes Drop Off Zone a bit of a tame title, eh?

Sorta makes Drop Off Zone a bit of a tame title, eh?

Seeing as the recent history of Taiwan involves both the Japanese and Chinese the place is an interesting mix of both. Mandarin is the spoken language but there are the subtle Japanese gardens, lane ways between houses and heaps of Sushi and Shabu Shabu restaurants.
And it is busy! Catching a train or a bus isn't a matter of sitting and waiting long, even for the high speed rail trip south to Chiayi which only involved a wait long enough to have a cup of coffee. There are three or four trains an hour from Taipei south.
Our first adventure was finding our booked accommodation for the three nights in Taipei. The trip from the airport on the shuttle bus dropped us at the main train station which makes a rabbit warren seem organised. The signs are in English as well as Chinese characters, but that didn't seem to help much. Eventually we found the right train line, there are a few, and rode to the stop in the directions. From there it was a walk down some busy streets to the address, though it was a bit of a backtracked walk in the end. The address was there displayed on a plaque on the wall besides a big doorway that had building materials piled up in front of it and a door that hadn't swung open since it was put there. As has happened a few times now, a Filipino walks up and starts a conversation with Rowie, and we now have the instructions to go around the back of the building to the door which is wedged in between a few restaurants.
How easy is that? There are Filipinos everywhere.
As we were staying in a "hotel" close to the famous Shilin night markets, we spent a bit of time exploring there. We even found a steakhouse! If I had've pointed to the right dish on the Chinese menu, I might've found out how good it was too.
We also went into Taipei, I love cities - NOT, and walked around 2-28 Peace Park, had a look though the museum commemorating the 'incident' on February 2, 1947. It was all in Chinese so a westerner wouldn't get too much out of the text, but just like Hiroshima, the pictures and displays do the job.
By this time our luck has run out and the threatened rain has started. We went on a trip to the end of the train line out near the river mouth to see what was there, and found plenty. First spot was an umbrella for me after getting poked in the face by Rowie's - again! Ten steps outside the shop a gust of wind turned mine inside out, much to Rowie's amusement, so I spent the next ten minutes trying to straighten the frame out.
In summer, or even when the weather is clear, the area is set up for tourists with all sorts of food stalls, shooting galleries, trinket shops, etc. to cater for the horde of Chinese tourists travelling around in the CITS tourist buses from the mainland.
After a while I've had more than enough of the city and Rowie is keen to see her sister, so off we go south on the High Speed Rail down the western side of Taiwan.

Tags: markets, taipei, taiwan


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