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Old July 17th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #1
Fabeiro
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A tour around TAIPEI

Greetings!

I'm living in Taipei (Taiwan) since some weeks ago and I would like to show a little bit of the capital city of this small country, often more unknown than other asian countries as China, Japan or Korea.

Mi first impression of the Republic of China was not good enough: it was too hot (with humidity, which is even worse), everything seemed very dirty, and the language was, obviously, a barrier to move around. However, all that changed after I got installed in my house and after seeing what this culture has to offer. Sure, where at the beginning I just saw commie blocks and traffic, finally I saw neon lights, happy and friendly people with foreigners, a great cuisine and a very funny nightlife, and that's because Taiwan has its own flavor, different from other parts of Asia, but also very attractive.

I'm going to show you the pictures I took on my second day, a 3 hours tour walking from Wanhua (in the west) to Xinyi (in the east, where famous 101 is located).



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We will start our tour in Ximending, the fashion area for young people where you can find the ultraconsumist taiwanese vein. For giving you an idea, it's the equivalent in Taipei of Tokyo's Shibuya or Harajuku, a place dominated by crowds, fashion clothing shops, cinema theatres, restaurants, game zones and, in general, all the otaku culture which comes from Japan. That means here you can find manga, anime, trinkets, doramas, etc... and it's really spectacular at night, when all shop's lights are turned on and they mix with the big screens on the streets. And, same as Japan, people here also dress with weird clothes and put on make-up.

Some days ago, walking around here, I found a crowd which was looking at a 4 girls group dressed up like ghosts and zombies of asian style, like in japanese horror movies. They were really scary. One of them (and this was very funny) approached slowly to a poor little kid, who was 4-5 years old looking at them with his parents, and offered him a skull she was holding... you can imagine how he reacted, almost crying of fear.

Other interesting thing of Ximending (although in general it's better in nightmarkets) is the great variety of taiwanese snacks you can find, and very cheap. I'm looking forward to try taiwanese stinky tofu, but I've heard I should get it in Damshui, a town in the north.








Walking around the streets to the east we can find the Presidential Palace, like Taiwan's White House, a building built during japanese colonial period. I still haven't the chance of visiting it.







Just being curious... Do you see the flags in the last picture? One of them, the red one, is Taiwan's flag, the other I think it's Marshall Islands' flag. At first I got surprised to see it, but after that I realized that maybe it was because an official visit of the Marshall Islands' president to Taiwan, because by now there are just a few small countries that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country (because of People's Republic of China's international pression), and the only ones which do it are often poor and small countries which receive a lot of money from Taiwan's government as external aid... so, taiwanese literally "buy" those countries' official recognition. A taiwanese friend told me the reason of giving scholarships to those countries' young students is that they hope that in future they can be the president of their countries and help Taiwan to join in the international diplomatic scene.

This is a very nice park that I found on my way to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall...



Shin Kong tower, the second highest skyscraper in the city.



This is one of the 4 gates of the ancient city that it still remains in Taipei, actually it's one the few ancient buildings that the city has. In theory, the old gates are still well conserved, because they were 5 and 4 of them survived, by now they give a old-new mix sensation which I think it's very beautiful.





This the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall's entrance. This square (Liberty Square), the most famous of the city, was created to conmemorate to president of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai Shek, who was a dictator in Taiwan till it's death in the seventies more or less. After that, with its son, the country had its own transition from a dictatorship to a democracy. It's curious that Chiang Kai Shek political party, Kuomingtang, is right now the most voted party in Taiwan, but in the last years it seems that new generations don't like very much this praise to their ancient dictator, because they have changed the name of this memorial to "National Taiwan Democracy Hall", and the same happened with Taipei's international airport, which time ago was Chiang Kai Shek International Airport and now people call it Taoyuan Airport (because it's located in Taoyuan County).









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Old July 17th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #2
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We leave the Liberty Square and te go to the east following Xinyi Lu ("lu" means street in mandarin), some pics for you to see the avenue, althogh right now the city government is building a new MRT line I think (MRT is the subway, Mass Rapid Transit). We can see now the Taipei 101 at the end of the road.





This is Da'An park, the green lung of the city. It's not very big and it's either specially beautiful because the government does not take a lot of care about it, but it's nice to walk around here and leave the traffic for a while.





This is Renai Lu, another avenue, full of trees. I was just crossing it forward Zhongxiao Lu, but, as we will see, it almost ends at Renai Circle, where there are some nice highrises.





This is Zhongxiao Lu. I wanted to come here because I think is one the most cosmopolitan avenues in the city, with a lot of shops, deparment stores (Sogo for example) and it's always crowded and with a lot of traffic.







Taiwan supports Spain in the World Cup!



This is Renai Circle.



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Last edited by Fabeiro; July 17th, 2010 at 05:52 PM.
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Old July 17th, 2010, 05:52 PM   #3
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Walking down Renai Lu to the east we get to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. This was a revolucionary chinese who lived during the XIX-XX centuries, and he's considered as the "nation's father" of the Republic of China. They built this pavillion next to Xinyi, altough I think the city government should take more care of it, for example I think the roof is a little bit dirty. The place is used as a park and here you can see a lot of families walking around with their children, young groups of boys and girls and people playing with their dogs.







Finally we get to Xinyi, the newest part of the city. When the suburbs started to grow in the other side of Tamsui river and to the north of Taipei, there was only one place to expand: the east. As this is a new district, the atmosphere is more relaxed than in the rest of the city. Streets are very wide, buildings are more modern... I personally think that this is the taiwanese Shinjuku, although less dense.







Here it's located the famous Taipei 101, the second tallest skyscraper of the world, with 509.2 meters of altitude. The building, although at first I thought it was not beautiful, finally I've got to like it after knowing part of the symbolism that it has. For example, the 101 name is not just because of the 101 floors, it is because it was opened the 1sr of January (1 of 01), the number 100 means the perfection and taiwanese want to be better than perfection; besides, the building is dividen in 8-floors-parts, and the 8 means success and good luck in Chinese culture. As you all know, it's inspired on a bamboo, a very special plant for asians. It has also the highest speed elevators in the world.





Some Xinyi's skyscrapers.



At night.



Going back to Ximending (I have to take the bus here to go back home).





I hope you enjoyed it!
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Last edited by Fabeiro; July 17th, 2010 at 06:10 PM.
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Old July 17th, 2010, 09:30 PM   #4
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Great photos!! I loved the fact that you took some extra time to explain a little about the pictures!
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Old July 17th, 2010, 10:28 PM   #5
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Very nice pictures
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Old July 18th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #6
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Very nice, great photos from the streets of Taipei indeed
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Old July 18th, 2010, 02:34 PM   #7
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Thank you for your comments
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Old July 19th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #8
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Very interesting, rare to see this city!
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Website about my travels and buildings in USA and Europe -many cool pics:
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