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Nywoman older single traveler returns to Taiwan

Nywoman older single traveler returns to Taiwan

Nov 11th, 2019, 05:10 AM
  #1  
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Nywoman older single traveler returns to Taiwan

After a 4 hour flight arrived into Taoyan airport outside Taipei without any problems. Immigration was very quick, not like last time when the lines were enormous. Picked up my portable WiFi and IC card right outside in the terminal. This was the first time ever that I had rented a WiFi in hindsight it will e my last. These were my issues, it has to be charged like your phone. I managed to lose it on a bus, fortunately retrieved it, the fine would have been $130. May still have to pay that since my water bottle leaked and it may have become damaged. A Sim card takes care of itself. It’s not damaged but it stopped working twice.


Arrived into Taipei Central station and made my way to Star Hostel where I had booked an ensuite single room. It was located a couple of blocks from the station in a really funky wonderful area. In this totally modern city with broad boulevards and high rises the neighborhood consisting of maybe 15 alleys populated by mom and pop in the wall stores as well as eateries. The hostel itself was on the 4th floor of a nondescript building. The elevator opened up to an open space with a wooden structure and reception desk.The downstairs common area was made up of wood and plants, with areas that were like tree houses with large pillows to sit on. The whole space was very modern yet cosy. My room was very comfortable with a glass. enclosed bathroom and a single bed. Across the street was a donut place where people lined up for the sugar encrusted treats, next door a place with clay ovens that sold meat filled small breads baked in these ovens. You prepaid were given a number and told when they would be ready approx 30 minutes later. Again long lines to pick up for a very tasty well seasoned snack. On the corner a seafood place with sushi I was a happy camper.

Taipei is not a pretty or even beautiful city, the buildings don’t seem to have any cohesiveness but just built according to the owners desires. Lots of highrises and I managed to get totally lost. Have to confess that I have great problems working Google maps, as much as I try it defies me. Went looking for the Museum of Modern Art got lost and ended up at 228 Memorial Peace Park. This is a park that before Taiwan became the first Asian country to recognise same sex marriage, gays would meet. It was also an area for dissidents and is now a lovely urban oasis. After a couple of hours walking around in circles, having a $1.50 lunch at an outdoor crowded eatery, where a man made sure that I had a bowl of soup that was included, I was in love again with Taiwan.

Next day It was fairly clear weather so I took the cablecar up the mountain to Maokong,it was a sort of like a gentle amusement park ride. The ride is just over 4 kilometers long and rises 275 meters in height between Taipei Zoo station and Maokong station. My stomach took a turn or two.
I met this really nice family from L.A. the parents were both pharmacists in the prison system, the children 3 and 5 were so cute, especially the 3 year old girl who held my hand as we walked up the hill. They decided to go back for the return trip and I continued until I got to a restaurant where I had lunch. Lunch was not particularly good but it did the trick.

Decided to take the local bus down to the Zoo. There were a lot, really a lot of pin turns going down the mountain somehow that was preferable to the cable car, a short walk took me to the Zoo which was a total delight. The animals appeared to be accessible, though of course they were not. For me the highlight came as I was leaving and the Panda was out in the open gnawing on bamboo. What a great day, topped off with a visit to a night market where I had oysters teppanyaki. Am not super fond of night markets as I find them very crowded and most of the food is not appealing, This was very good and enjoyable.

Had signed up for a free walking tour with www.LikeitFormosa.com to go to Daxi a small town in Taoyuan by shuttle us, pick up at Taipei Station 9.50 am. Daxi is a small historical town that was built on commerce on the Da-Han River that transported Camphor wood, coal and tea to areas beyond. On the “historic” street there were several colonial houses pointed out that were built during the Japanese occupation 1937-1940. We were also taken to the wood museum where the tongue and groove art of assembling furniture was shown. What would a tour in Taiwan be without food, we stopped for some local specialities, including Stinky Tofu that is very bland. It was a nice excursion with good guides. On the tour was a Danish woman, who was on business in Taipei, to establish wind power, with the government and private enterprise if I understood her correctly.

We decided to go to Addiction Aquatic Development which is a total experience in and of itself. It is run by a restaurant chain. My initial reaction was “I am in heaven” you enter the complex through a wholesale fish market with tanks of crabs of different sizes. Then you progress through the packaged sushi, sashimi section, Fruits and vegetables and probably some staples as well. This is where the bar is, you stand and eat, we didn’t join in for fear of raising the medium age above 35. We were looking for a restaurant to have sushi or sashimi. The first one we were sent to only did grilled fish, the second one you had to decide from the fish carcasses, what you wanted the chef to slice, too dicey. The next one only did fish shabu shabu, in the end we bought our boxes of sashimi and beers and went to sit down. Sorry no can do, you have to order drinks, except they were out of anything reasonably priced. In the end, I told the poor girl that I was very old and needed to sit in order to eat. She did let us sit, and fortunately my new found friend found all of this to be as amusing as I did.
Nywoman is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 06:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Following.
Hows the weather now?
jacketwatch is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 07:17 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Signing on. Sounds like the same area of Taipei I stayed in the second time. I recommend the ceramics museum at Yingge. Are you going to Tainan?
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 08:10 AM
  #4  
 
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Excellent stuff. We really loved our all too short stay in Taiwan. You are a kinging me contemplate a return! Some of the best street food in Asia
crellston is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 09:18 AM
  #5  
 
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I'm very interested, have never been to Taiwan and am curious if it's a place I might like.
MmePerdu is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 03:15 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
Following.
Hows the weather now?
The weather is really nice. Taipei mainly cloudy
Tainan where I am now, very pleasant low 80's but not very humid.
Nywoman is offline  
Nov 11th, 2019, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Nywoman View Post
The weather is really nice. Taipei mainly cloudy
Tainan where I am now, very pleasant low 80's but not very humid.
Thank you. Good time to go it seems.
jacketwatch is offline  
Nov 12th, 2019, 08:56 PM
  #8  
 
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How can we not be intrigued by a country with a seafood place called Addiction Aquatic Development?

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CaliNurse is offline  
Nov 13th, 2019, 05:57 AM
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by CaliNurse View Post
How can we not be intrigued by a country with a seafood place called Addiction Aquatic Development?

Following...
Got that right.
I wonder if this is a lost in translation moment. One of the restaurants in the Beijing hotel we stayed at had some bizarrely worded entrees. I don’t remember all of them but there was one called “Church burning beef” and another called “steamed marinated horse glue.” I prefer it sautéed.
jacketwatch is offline  
Nov 15th, 2019, 08:04 PM
  #10  
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Taiwan 2 Kaohsiung

[color=left=#000000]With the help of the wonderful receptionists at my hostel I was able to buy as a foreigner discounted high speed train tickets to Kaohsiung and from Tainan to Taoyuan. When I got to the station my Wi Fi did not work, but somehow the agent was able to pull up my tickets and print them.[/color]
[color=left=#000000]As the train moved further south the landscape changed. There were a lot of aquafarming pools, apparently Grouper is the breed of choice. Then I saw many banana trees which also seems to be a favorite crop as well as sugar cane, everything so lush.[/color]

[color=left=#000000]Arrive at Kaohsiung station, although the station is in the process of a major renovation, it is very modern and easy to navigate. I had picked my hostel based on the fact that it was near a subway entrance. Subways in Japan as well as Taiwan have multiple exits and I could not remember which exit I needed. When I asked the attendants, they not only looked it up on a computer, but also printed out a map. As I got out on the street I was still clueless, a woman stopped asked me if she could help, checked her watch and decided to walk me to my destination which was 2 minutes away.[/color]

[color=left=#000000]The subway stations are so extremely clean, easily accessible with elevators and escalators and mercifully not enormous distances to walk underground. I took the train to the harbour to check it out, it got dark before I could really see much so I ended up having dinner at KW2 a renovated warehouse with many choices as well as stores.[/color]

[color=left=#000000]I had my whole itinerary planned, the next day I was going to return to the harbour, see the art exhibits and visit the island of Cijin in the morning, take another tour with “Like it Formosa” to learn about religion and visiting the temples in the afternoon. The following day going to Hakka country but it was not to be. Asked the receptionist if there was a bus I could take, since I felt that the subway was not that convenient. She very carefully wrote out my directions and I followed them. The problem here was that she thought I meant an island off the southern coast called Lingfu, an hour or more away. We arrived in Dongang where I took the return bus. I did manage to get back in time for my tour which was very interesting and informative. We met at Lotus lake in the northern part of the city, which could be confused with an amusement park. There are two pagodas in the water with a dragon and a tiger as entrances respectively. You enter through the dragon’s mouth and exit through the tigers. During the walk through the corridors, you see all the horrors that you will encounter if you are not well behaved. It is all quite colorful, these pagodas were built in the 70’s. During the Japanese occupation religion was compulsory but after 1945 it became whatever you wanted. There are many, many gods for different purposes that you pray to. Also equally many temples throughout the country. The temples are very ornate on the outside with many carvings, as well as on the inside with a lot of gold, quite different from what I had been seeing in Japan.[/color]

[color=left=#000000]Several of us from the group ended up going to a night market. This one had no motor scooters running through it which was a very nice change. I had my usual teppanyaki with oysters, the chef hammed it up when he saw my camera and put on a chef’s toque.[/color]
[color=left=#000000]That night I was told about the Buddhist Monastery and museum, which one of my companions rapsed lyrical about. Easy enough to change my plans, the Hakkas will have to wait for another time., as I still wanted to return to the harbour in the afternoon.[/color]

[color=left=#000000]The next morning saw an early start because the museum is a good hour away. Arrived at the bus stop as the bus pulled away, apparently it was full, and it only runs hourly. There was an Italian woman named Sylvy and a Taiwanese lady who also missed the bus, we decided to share a taxi. This was the beginning of a very wonderful morning. The taxi driver had on a CD with Buddhist songs and Sylvy, who has a lovely singing voice hummed along. In the end he gave her the CD. How wonderful was that, we said goodbye to the Taiwanese lady who told us about a special exhibit with Buddhas from China. The museum and the temple complex are enormous built on 187 hectares. It was a very hot day and on either side there were covered walkways which on this day hosted a book fair and healthy food fair.[/color]

[color=left=#000000]By the time we reached the museum we had almost already had lunch from all the samples, as well as nice interactions with the vendors. There was an orchid exhibition going on with arrangements as well as plants it was very spectacular .All of the above I enjoyed, It is probably heresy to say, but after Japan’s buddhist culture, this was too much and very overwhelming in it’s scope, and felt almost fake. There was no admission fee and we were also given a book “Humanistic Buddhism, holding True to the Original Intents of Buddha” after covering the exhibits including the Jade Buddha, which I skipped, we went for lunch. The cafeteria on the second floor of the entrance building, serves a free vegetarian meal until 1 pm which we took advantage of. I took the bus back, Sylvy wanted to stay. We met up later for dinner. I wish that I had felt some kind of reverence, but I didn't, it was too immense including the large bronze Buddha sitting on top of the building.[/color]
Nywoman is offline  
Nov 16th, 2019, 07:56 AM
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Enjoying your TR.
I assume the bracketed numbers and letters are links to pictures which did not display, at least for me.
Thank you.
jacketwatch is offline  
Nov 20th, 2019, 08:17 AM
  #12  
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Thoughts on Japan and Taiwan

[COLOR=left=#000000]The railway station in Taipei is a very large rectangular building as night approaches the homeless start to make up their beds, which mainly consists of cardboard, some have tarps, on the outside periphery of the building. There appear to be several groups that socialize and play games or just talk. When I had gone to 228 Peace Memorial Park I had seen several makeshift tents using umbrellas as roofs during the day, almost like they were permanently there. I never asked about the homeless situation nor do I recall beggars. As of October 2017 there were 2.500 according to one website.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#000000]Time and time again I have been asked, how similar are Taiwan and China. It is 11 years since I was in China, my memory is probably not the most accurate. Actually I find more similarities with Japan, which is not surprising considering that Japan occupied Taiwan from 1894 to 1945. [/COLOR][COLOR=left=#000000]It is very clean, despite the fact that trash receptacles are almost nonéxistent or hard to find.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=left=#000000]People line up in a very orderly fashion for the train or bus, they also very polite. The subways and the stations are immaculate, with bathrooms all over the place, as well as breastfeeding rooms. Everything is clearly marked in Chinese as well as English[/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#000000]Lots of street food, which was also prevalent in China,* including the night markets, but not in Japan. Actually, in Japan it is frowned upon to eat on the streets. In Taiwan there are signs on all the subway cars no eating or drinking, subject to a fine. Well in Singapore you get fined for carrying a* Durian on the bus.*[/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#000000]As I was going home one evening in Kaohsiung I came across 4 people carrying a rainbow banner and advertising a Gay Parade on the 23rd. I asked how come they were so few of them carrying this banner ,I really didn’t get a very clear answer. However it was explained to me that despite Taiwan being the first and only Asian country to recognize gay marriage, people in general were quite homophobic and uninformed. This was Asia and not New York, so when I thought I saw a lot of queens it could just be a different way of dressing. The women as a rule were less well dressed than their counterparts in Japan. Whereas the young people were quite independent in their way of dressing and how they died their hair. Lots of blondes around.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#000000]As I have already stated I did not find Taipei or Kaohsiung attractive cities, but I think it may also have to do with the areas I visited. Did not explore in depth or research too well.[/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#000000]One thing that really struck me all over Japan was how the children were tended to by their fathers. This was more prevalent than in Taiwan, of course they were all a younger generation.[/COLOR][COLOR=left=#000000]I wonder if this means that marriage is more equitable now, more on the Swedish model?[/COLOR]

[COLOR=left=#000000]A few of my musings, Tainan is coming up.[/COLOR]

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Nywoman is offline  
Nov 20th, 2019, 08:20 AM
  #13  
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Sorry, have no idea how these editing marks got inserted again.
Nywoman is offline  
Nov 20th, 2019, 11:52 AM
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OK. No worries
jacketwatch is offline  
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