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Monday, June 12, 2017

Taipei Taiwan

When I got an opportunity to go to Taipei the capital city of Taiwam otherwise called Republic of China to attend a conference I took it up with alacrity for this was a country i was keen on going to .
There was no direct flight to Taiwan from Brunei and one could go either through Honk Kong or the more circuitous Bangkok as a transit point .
My sponsor booked the Bangkok one ,so most of the day as spent either in the flight or in  Bangkok airport that I reached Taipei only near midnight .
The Brunei to Bangkok stretch was by RBA and as usual the Breakfast came to me with a specially

requested yogurt this time two in numbers !
Though I had been to Thailand earlier Bangkok and its Swarnabhoomi airport has always fascinated me with its long artistic iconic statue of a mahabharatha epic story

After browsing the excellent duty free and swishing in a Singapore sling sitting on a nice bar on the duty free area

the second part of my trip was by Thai airways
I was exited to reach Taipei .
Taiwan is an island off China
For a long time it had aborigines in it and known as the  island of Formosa
The Dutch in their quest for riches started a colony and built forts etc later the Spanish took over for a brief time before the Dutch got it back again ,
The Chinese Quing dynasty then drove the Dutch away and it became part of Chinese Empire till 1895 when it was given to Japan as a spoil in a war they won .
Japan ruled Taiwan for almost fifty years when at the end of the  second world war they surrendered to the Axis powers after the atom bomb explosion in Hiroshima and Nagasaki .
There are lot of Japanese influence in Taiwan with plenty of Japanese type of colonial houses

Mariott hotel Taipei 

breakfast at Mariott 
the walk to Mayfull hotel the venue of the conference 
Morning saw me tucking in an excellent breakfast from Hotel Mariott where i was booked to stay
It was a bit chilly and I made a quick walk to the conference venue hotel Mayfull a short distance away
it was an iconic hotel

Mayfull hotel 
Conference hall 

With the conference going on till late evening i made a getaway as I wanted to see the city ,so I also skipped the banquet dinner and headed to the famous Shilin night market using the Metro which was very convenient


different fruits


 I first attempted an oyster omelette which wasnt bad at all
famous oyster omelette 

The Sizzling steak 

 and then I tucked into a sizzling steak witha Taiwanese Beer
Castilla cake 
 the Castille cake of Taiwan is very famous ,its actually a legacy of the Japanese who got it from Portuguese and means from Castillo
The freshly baked big rectangular cake each having more than 58 eggs are lifted and turned  upside down before cutting into precise portions to be sole ,each piece can be eaten by eight people and the whole process of cutting was almost a ceremony
 The Shilin night market  a hub of activity was chock block with food places and there was so many varieties some of the famous like bubble tea ,oyster omelette ,taiwanese tempura and stinky Tofu are almost legendary .
there is a huge two stroeyed building and it has around 539 food shops in its first floor while its second floor is a parking lot for more than 400 cars .
surrounding this in the nearby streets too there a re plenty of shops many of food again ,
The vendors are friendly and cheerful though English is a language hardly spoken one could manage quite well
the earlier Shilin market got renovated by 2011 to the present area

 there is a Buddhist temple on one of the streets and it was filled with incense spewing crowds

 There are more night markets in Taipei and some are quite famous for exotic rare food types which to me wasnt very inviting like one market specialized in snakes blood ,deer penis wine and the like ,i just avoided the place
i made a return by cab as the metro by now was quite crowded and it beginning to drizzle too .
a word about Taiwan and Taipei is the behavior of the people ,they are very civic minded and follow rules meticulously ,even at midnight when streets are empty pedestrians cross the road only when signal comes ,the motorists too are respectful to pedestrians and each other ,there is no obvious theft in crowded metros and its totally safe ,one hardly sees any police but there is no need for them too
These are great lessons for countries like India
stationary golf center ,here golf ballsa re hit into a ground from two floors 

Miranmar plaza ear my hotel with a giant wheel 

the metro is quick efficient safe and gets us anywhere in a jiffy 

Chian kai shek memorial 
chian Kai shaek memorial 
 Chian kai shek literally the father of Taiwan had his childhood in maniland china as a fatherless boy brought up by a brave mother ,he would go to Japan to do his studies and joined the military
he returned and joined the Kuomintang and wasa right hand to sun Yat sen  and his successor too
The Kuomintang which ruled China since 1928 ,initially ruthlessly suppressed the communists in a massacre wimping out thousands and called the white terror
and lost to the communists in the Chinese civil war in 1949 retreated to Taiwan and its leader Chian kai shek became the president of the republic of China which they said was the real china and the Chinese mainland under Maos party became the Peoples republic of China .
From 1949 to his death in 1975 he was the sole power of Taiwan

car of chain Kai Shek 
 the period also brought about great progress for the country ith rapid industrialization and infrastructure
The whiffs of democracy started blowing in the seventies and by the nineties it became a multi party democracy with he Kuomintang a prominent party even today at present it is in the opposition

next evening i started with The chiang Kai shek memorial park is a vast open space with a park on one side ,a huge museum and a quaint memorial built to Chaing kai shek ,inside was memoirs of the leader exhibits photos his cars and used things ,every hour there was a march past by the security inside .
though he skyscraper building of Taipei the Taipei 101 was famous I had to give it a skip as i had to see other places of interest
i also couldn't visit the famous Longhuan temple
i took a train changed tracks ato reach Beitou area to see the famous thermal springs ,the last stretch of the metro to this are is by a special tourist train with huge glass roofed viewing windows
i saw there was a relgious procession going on and made a long walk but faile to see the thermal spring

daily march past ,this was held every hour 

religous procession on way to Beitou springs

a burger in ximen
a hungry me opted for a fat juicy burger served by a smiling youngster who took a selfie with me 

,i returned back a bit forlorn and took metro to reach the famous shopping area called Ximen
and thus the very short stay in Taipei ended but i could get a feel of the country and enjoyed it

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