April 2015


Taipei… in Two Days (Not Nearly Enough Time…)

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

Basically, due to the structure of my current vacation, Taipei was limited to two days.

And what fast days they were: I arrived in Taipei late Saturday night, getting to my hotel at about 11pm. Sleep followed shortly thereafter.

Selfie Sticks at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

Sunday I wandered the city in the morning – starting with the impressive Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. The approach from the subway station is impressive – with a huge plaza before a huge memorial – and I managed to arrive just in time for the changing of the guard.

Chiang Kai-shek Guard

Two things about the changing of the guard amused me: first, this is the first time I’ve ever seen so many selfie-sticks in action. Secondly, after the new guards had marched into place, there was another man who came along and made sure their uniforms were perfect.

Chiang Kai-shek Guard

I’ll admit that when it comes to Taiwan’s history (and China, for that matter), I only know the broad brush strokes, so much of what I learned in the accompanying museum was new to me – Chiang Kai-shek is a name I know, but that’s it. However, I felt that the exhibits went a bit too far – there’s a sense of hero worship that made me a bit uncomfortable. We do not need to know that he sent a telegram to Neil Armstrong after Neil walked on the moon: lots of people did, and the fact that Chiang sent a telegram didn’t really affect Taiwan’s history – other than the fact that I was made aware of it.

Chiang Kai-shek Guard

Beyond that, I wandered the city, ate a hot cream filled pastry, and hit up two other tourist attractions: A paper museum and Taipei 101.

The Suho Memorial Paper Museum is a hokey place – with exhibits about the history of paper, how paper is made, and the different uses of paper. For an extra fee, one can also make a sheet of paper – which I have. I’d show it to you, but it’s rolled up in my poster tube in my suitcase and I’m feeling lazy.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 is a very tall, bamboo-like looking, building – the views from the top are very nice, although I will admit that photography was crap because it was cloudy – and the sunset I hoped for did not materialize.

Taipei 101

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