Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 14: Taipei 101

Two days left to our Taiwan trip, and we dragged ourselves to the last few tourist attractions we had yet to visit. How could we not visit Taipei 101 and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall? Still, I had to admit that shopping and people watching seemed more exciting at that point.

there, the two in one shot

As expected, the memorial was chockful of larger than life statues paying homage to the father of Chinese nationalism.

the man himself

another statue

Other than that, there were exhibits detailing his life and achievements. But there were other things to look at.

inexplicably, a dance class on the corridors

a bus company having a family day, we surmised

a learning journey - National Education no doubt

beautiful flowers

obaasan and ojiisan being aired

Indeed, it was a warm day, not sunny by any means but mild enough for being outdoors.


everyone and his dog was out


We eventually made our way to Taipei 101.

Taiwan's pride and joy - the world's tallest building till Jan 2010

We walked around the building several times, trying to locate an appropriate entrance into the tower. The area smacked of Singapore-style endeavours to jazz up an otherwise "unhappening" area.

public art

hey, there's one of these in Singapore as well

family values, no?

Once we managed to get into the building proper, we realised the shopping options were not for us. There was nothing but designer brands on sale, a fair number of which were available in Singapore. Ho hum.

Of course the whole point of visiting the world's tallest building was the view. We went up to the indoor observation deck on the 89th floor. Too bad the outdoor observation deck on the 91st floor was closed due to the weather.

inside the superfast elevator

From the 89th floor, we could see the urban sprawl that was Taipei.

like toy buildings

hey, look, the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

The price of the ticket came with entry to the gallery where the inner workings of this 21st century skyscraper could be admired.

the mass damper responsible for keeping the building stable in the face of strong winds and earthquakes

Of course, they couldn't leave well enough alone - they had to make a cute marketable character out of the damper.

see, that's Damper Baby on the left

There was even an exhibition on jade. Talk about random.

interesting colours but still...

All in all, it wasn't the most exciting of mornings.

even the cleaners got some attention from the tourists

The visit to Taipei 101 gave us the opportunity to sample Ju Ru's cuisine though.

surely that should be "Jiu Ru"

the restaurant

pickles and other appetite whetters

dong po rou - lookit at that fat, yum!

dou miao - the only "old" veggie we encountered in Taiwan

not the usual mantou to go with the dong po rou - first time we had them and they were very good!

tang bao aka xiao long bao

zheng jiao

It was a good meal, though HM and I agreed that, at more than NT$1400 (SGD$70), it wasn't as good value for money as Shin Yeh, especially when the quality of food was considered.

Belching pork, we went over to the PageOne bookstore where we found a couple of things to buy, including a DVD of Cloud Gate, Taiwan's premier dance company.

After that, a little coffee was in order. We found this twee kafe.

a Viennese cafe

expresso with milk on the side

in one of Taipei 101's atriums

Tumbling out of Taipei 101, we had a look around the rest of the Xinyi shopping district. New York New York was full of cosmetics, and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi was massive (the blocks were labelled A3, A4, A8, A9, A10, A11...)

I found the outside more interesting than the inside...

Tokyo Drift! Not...

look what the poor woman was made to plug

two icons side by side, sort of

There was lots of cute stuff...

there was even a corn patch - weird!

one last look

Thank god there was at least a Hands Tailung, the Taiwan version of Tokyo Hands.


We picked up some odds and ends, including some presents, and headed back to Tango Xinyi which was fortunately a quick 10-minute walk away. But the night was still young and, feeling vaguely dissatisfied with how the day had turned out, we opted to head back out to Shihlin Night Market for some comfort food.

yes, another ji pa

and a glutinous rice sausage

from this stall

we didn't dare try the shellfish

The food, plus some fen yuan ai yu and ai yu lemon, hit the spot. We could now return to Tango Xinyi, in peace, for a spot of soaking.

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