Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taiwan – Taipei (台北)

The moment travelling from the Airport to Taipei City, I realized that my expectation of Taipei was utterly wrong - I meant physically comparing to Hong Kong. The atmosphere was more laid back, not many high rise buildings studded the skyline.

The highlight of Taipei was the National Palace Museum, which housing huge collection (world’s largest and finest) of invaluable Chinese Arts brought from mainland China during the retreat of KMT. Among the focuses are the “jade cabbage” and “jade pork”… they were smaller than I thought.

The iconic Freedom Square (previously known as “Zhong Zheng” Square, the name was changed a couple of years back) was my pick for photographing. The buildings were grand, and the atmosphere was good. The gigantic bronze statue of Taiwan’s first president in the “Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall” was sitting high up overlooking the square.

The politeness of the sales promoters in the shopping mall was overwhelming, sounds like the Japanese culture… I had to respond with a courtesy smile each time… eventually I hanged the smile on my face in the whole afternoon.

Who won’t go to see the current world tallest (current record) building “Taipei 101”? I didn’t go up to the observation floor. The lower floors are lined up with world top class boutiques, very spacious. Wonder how much cost they need to spend just to replacing a spot light on the sky high ceiling, or to pump a liter of water to the top floor?

The most famous Shi Lin night market was interesting, is a good place to savour local foods and shopping.