Taipei is a pretty nice city, very green and settled in what I believe used to be a lake bed till it drained out thousands of years ago (I think there is still some remnants of the water towards the center of the city, but if your that interested, Wikipedia and Google!) Anyways my trip got off to a stella start with being upgraded to business class on my flight, got to love that, the reason thou being over booked is a bit of a fail… but apparently airlines do this to cover themselves in case of changes or cancelations… I’m guessing last min ones but still, it can be a risk, but in my case it was a gain.
Arrive in Taipei and wholly shit is it hot there, but the first thing I notice is how clear the sky is and how green it is, kind of puts Seoul to shame really. After checking in at the hotel I decided to check out Taipei 101 since its close to my hotel and not sure what my next 2 days will entail so thought might as well bang it out early. Easy enough to get there, the place is really modern and has that feel to it, however it is def off set by all the 100’s of tourists floating around, and since it was a Sunday, screaming shit kids. The wait to get on the elevator going up was maybe 30-40mins so not too bad given the elevator ride to the top only takes all of only 40 seconds and the view at the top is def worth it.
Taipei is a funny city in that it doesn’t have a huge amount of high buildings or a big concentration of them in a single area so 101 really stands out (almost comically if you wana be a stink guy about it) The view at the top and seeing the mountains surrounding the city is really something. The tower itself is nothing overly special, well it is but as far as towers go they all have their own little something. 101 has this huge ass swinging ball as a wind dampener (cue dirty jokes) but it is an impressive structure and if it wasn’t so tourist heavy the surrounding/adjacent mall and facilities would be much more bearable. I wanted to eat there but yeah nah, waaay to busy so ended up getting a feed from a place close to my hotel that sold NZ beef, score! and dam, the price of food is really cheap
So on to my second day, was meant to meet up with my friend but didn’t hear from so decided to first go check out a popular anime spot I had read about under Taipei Main Station, well its not actually under the station, its close to it thou (ill post specific directions in another post) but it quickly became apparent that a lot of shopping in Taipei is located underground almost directly following the subway lines, the mall here wasn’t huge, but looooong! and that was only the part I checked out. As far as toys go, they (and it seems everyone else) is miles ahead of Korea… weird but my guess is Korea is still on that whole anti Japanese buzz could be the reason… But I digress, there was many small shops rocking mostly One Piece, Hatsune Miku, Gundam and various other popular anime products, but not many of the less popular ones as expected. I was surprised to see some old G1 transformers floating around. After grabbing a feed here I decided to check out Xmien, the main ‘trendy’ shopping district, similar to Harajuku in Japan, and it is very similar but I did notice that the same local brands tended to show up in most places, it did however make a nice change from seeing immigrant Nigerians (or whatever country) peddling their bullshit gears. The area consists of maybe 4 blocks by 4 blocks space worth of shops, lots of stuff tucked away in small places but the best spot to check out is the department store, well its not really a department store, its just a big ass building fill to the brim with a heap of really good shops, kicks, clothes and anime, winning! Anyways I ended up spending most of the day shopping and by the time I rocked back to the hotel, it was food and crash while deciding what the hell to do on my next day…
I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I decided to go to the zoo, i thought about doing the temples and museums etc but honestly there is too much associated history that I know nothing about so doing those sites kind of felt pointless (I wasn’t in the mood to learn either) so I decided the zoo would be great since it is a well known zoo, and I have never seen Pandas before! So after lunch I headed out to the zoo, so easy to get to, just jump on the subway (side note, the subway system there is really good, clean and efficient) It was a little tricky at first to figure out how to plan my zoo trip since there was no real guides at the entry but I figured it out pretty quickly and started making my way thru the different sections checking out the animals. Now I love animals, I think they are so amazing and beautiful, so seeing them in a zoo is both a pleasure and depressing at the same time. Feeling happy that I can see these amazing animals but depressing that I cant see them wild and free in their natural habitat because humans are basically heartless, greedy fucktards.
First stop was the Pandas, I want one! But my god, their enclosure was just depressing, I felt so sorry for them. The line was pretty big, but the cueing line for when it gets really busy was insane, I would hate to hit there during a weekend, i was there on a Tuesday arvo, it might be holidays at the moment, I’m not sure who is and who isn’t on holiday but you can be sure weekends are stay away times. Anyways after the pandas I steadily made my way from the bottom up to the top of the valley which the zoo is nestled in, they have done well with the space they have, but as always, more is better. I really enjoyed my time at the zoo, however, people, control your fucking children! I could see quite a few people getting really pissed off with how some of the kids were acting and I was beginning to get the same way too, poor animals, having to live with that shit everyday, its bad enough they are stuck in cages…
After the zoo i decided to head up the gondola after hearing/reading it was worth the trip, yup it was! the ride is maybe 30mins of nothing but spectacular views all the way to the top where you kind of just get dumped in a hillside community that’s famous for its tea houses. I looked around for one that would have a good view of the sunset and found one that was pretty much perfect, funny that the lady beckoned my to come in but I had every intention of going there. I was surprised how quiet it was but I guess it was a weekday. Anyways had some fresh tea (im not a tea person but it tasted good0 and had some wild chicken, that ended up being waaay bigger than I thought it would be, but at any rate I got to enjoy an awesome sunset. Headed back down and made my way back to the hotel to crash again after a long ass weekend! Kind of failed with my flight time, need to remember to coincide my flight time with my check out time.