I’m a little slow getting these entries about Taipei posted as I have a lot of video and was hoping to do some editing for each entry. That, however, isn’t going to happen.
Tawn all wrapped up and ready to take on the cool weather in Taipei.
Saturday morning after breakfast we took a taxi to Taipei 101, previously the tallest building in the world and still the tallest in East Asia. Taipei as a whole is pretty flat and spread out so there are few buildings – and none immediately nearby – that challenge Taipei 101 in any serious way.
The morning, as you can see, was still misty with a light drizzle falling nonstop. In fact, the top of the tower was shrouded in passing clouds from time to time, promising a less than unlimited view. After debating whether it would be better to wait and hope for clearer weather, we finally decided to go ahead and ascend to the observation deck on the 89th floor as many tour groups were arriving.
The design of Taipei 101 incorporates many elements of feng shui, the system of aesthetics that balances astronomy and geography to receive the results of positive qi, or energy. For example, the structure is built to resemble bamboo, a supple and quick-growing grass. There are lucky coins placed on the four sides of the building and the edges are adorned with metal embellishments that look like stylized clouds. It is actually a very graceful building.
The elevators to the observation deck are supposedly the fastest in the world, reaching 1,010 meters/minute on the upwards journey and 600 meters/minute on descent. The ride from the 5th floor ticket queue to the 89th floor observation deck takes 37 seconds and, surprisingly, your ears don’t pop too badly thanks to a system of pumps that move air into and out of the passenger cab.
The view from the deck was limited, although it was interesting to watch clouds blowing past the building below you. Also, there was one side of the building (the downwind side) where the clouds were stacking up behind the building. I did shoot some video, but nothing to share with you yet.
Tawn and I with a mural of Taipei 101 and downtown Taipei on a sunnier (and more cartoonish) day. Below, Tawn and Sugi pose in the gift shop with a “damper baby”, the mascot of Taipei 101 whose image is based on the 660-ton pendulum mass damper that sways to offset building movement caused by earthquakes or strong gusts of wind. Notice that the eyes and mouth of the damper baby spell out “101”.
We spent most of the day in the malls surrounding Taipei 101, shopping and eating as there wasn’t a whole lot else to do on such a dreary day. That was fun enough, though, as it is about the company more than anything else.
Tawn poses in front of the Louis Vuitton store’s Christmas display.
Before heading out to the night market for dinner, I managed to get this decent shot of Taipei 101 at night, taken in front of Eslite Bookstore’s flagship location.
More about the night market (which was drier) tomorrow.