We arrived Friday morning about 11:00 at Taipei’s International Airport after a smooth, three-hour flight from Bangkok. Andy was kind enough to arrange for a car to pick us up and we were in the city before twelve-fifteen. Amazing considering the distance from the airport to the city.
After a bit of freshening up, we met Andy and his girlfriend Sugi in the lobby of the Park Taipei Hotel, off to our first stop, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, below.
This impressive memorial to the first president of Taiwan is part of a larger grounds that include the National Theatre and the National Concert hall, two traditionally designed buildings.
Inside the memorial hall we witnessed the impressive changing of the guard ceremony at the top of the hour. There is some video footage I will edit of this. Worth watching because – horrors! – one of the guards dropped his gun during the intricate maneuvers.
The military guards have to stand still for an entire hour. Unable to move, they have to rely upon a civilian guard to come over, straighten their uniform and mop their brow.
In the museum below the memorial hall was an exhibit of more contemporary Chinese scrolls including this cute one of an old couple perusing a photo album.
Tawn posed near one of the large doors leading into the museum level of the memorial hall.
In the evening we went to Ximending, the shopping district on the west side of town that is the home of hip and trendy youth culture. Similar to Shibuya in Tokyo, it is bright lights and tons of shops catering to an endless stream of people, mostly younger.
There’s shopping for everyone. Sugi found a beautiful leather bracelet that she really liked so a few minutes later, Andy was shelling out some New Taiwan Dollars.
There are some really nice graffiti in one section of Ximending.
Lots of street vendors serving foods of every kind. Taipei is known for its good eats and tomorrow evening we will be dining at the night market. Stay tuned for that entry. Here was a fresh fruit vendor who was being shooed away by the police for being in a no-vendor area.
One thing I found a vendor selling that really surprised me: corn dogs!
How good every thing looks. You guys have got all the major cities in your corner of the passports it seems. How lovely that you both enjoy traveling so much.
Oh wow… I forgot you were traveling to Taiwan. The guard dropped his rifle? Wow… he’s probably gonna hear it from the drill sergeant. I like that painting too. P.S. Can you tell Andy to go commando pls? Thanks…
So did you have bubble tea too? I sneaked a visit in today and tried the pineapple. Yum.
The Memorial Hall photo (first one) looks great! There’re lots of great eats in the city, looking forward to more of your foodie porn! LOL
Great post!! I am dying to go to Taiwan one day, and posts are always provide such a tantalizing taste of what you are experiencing! Haha–so funny someone has to mop your brow (or scratch your nose even)!!
Very interesting Chris! Looking forward to rest of the travelogue. 🙂 PS:Where did Tawn get that awesomely sexy gloves he is wearing in that pic you posted on facebook?
What wonderful pictures..as usual!! I had to chuckle at the one of the civilian wiping the brow of the military guard….I am surprised they don’t just order them not to sweat!!! Heheheheh. And the fresh fruit on that vendors wagon…oh my gosh it looks so delicious!!! You are having some wonderful adventures!!! Ruth Ann
Wow! The memorial looks really stunning!Looks like a good trip! I’d love to go someday!
@Dezinerdreams – Italian driving gloves from Florence.
@ZSA_MD – There are some cities that haven’t made it into the passport yet – nothing in Laos, Cambodia (other than just across the border) or Burma, for example. Nothing in China other than just across the border from Hong Kong. I have some traveling to do!@TheCheshireGrins – It is pretty amazing. I hope you have the opportunity to go.@Redlegsix – You have to wonder what happens if the soldiers have a cold or allergies…@lil_squirrel4ever – Just finished a night out at the street market, eating. Will have that in the nexst day or two. Yummy!@CurryPuffy – New profile pic for you! Looks great.@murisopsis – Oh, yeah. Boba on a daily basis.@ElusiveWords – What?! You aren’t keeping track of my travel schedule? =D I’ll pass the message to Andy. We were talking about you yesterday, speculating on what you must look like.
@christao408 – I am SURE that colds and flus are on the forbidden list for the guards!!!
@christao408 – I am so jealous. Btw love the photo of Tawn by the doors – did you realize you are in the photo too? Reflected in the metal…
@ElusiveWords – But how would you know if I did or not? 😀 I guess you can ask Sugi?!And yes we were wondering what you look like and if you really are “Matt from Toronto?!”We are going to make it up there some day soon and meet you!!!
@christao408 – I look like an angry wok.
@yang1815 – I’m counting on your honesty. And I know if you do, you’ll likely blog about it. hahahaha
@ElusiveWords – The mysterious angry wok man!!! Haha nah, I sometimes switch off going commando or not. I like the way it feels, without restriction!!! 😀
can’t wait for your street market entry! I love street/taiwanese food!!
@ElusiveWords – Angry wok? Let me fire up the wok tonight and experiment with it! ;0)
Thank you for the compliment! =p
@murisopsis – Yes, I actually noticed that.@lil_squirrel4ever – We ate plenty of good stuff so stay tuned…
@christao408 – How about India Chris? have you been there already??
I loved the night markets when I was there! I wish LA had more late night markets as an alternative for late night clubs and bars.
@ZSA_MD – Have never had the opportunity to go. As with all of my travels, I much prefer to visit somewhere where I know locals or am traveling with people who have better knowledge of the place. That way I can have an experience that transcends simply being a tourist.@Rm2046 – I wish the US as a whole had more night markets and beter street food. We were talking about this while in Taipei. In Asia (and most of the world) you can eat relatively healthy, fast and inexpensive food. In the US, fast and cheap equals unhealthy and terrible quality.
@christao408 – I am going back in December ( early ) of ’10. Want to make plans for some time there with us? M will be there too for a short period. I have a “FIFTY” year re union of my medical school class.!!! Can you believe that? I think the dates for that are 2nd to the 5th of Dec. Think about it Chris.
@ZSA_MD – You’re going to India for just three days?
Yeah…it’s quite a bit of a mystery to me where corn dogs come from…but they’ve been around ever since I can remember street food