Taipei

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SUMMARY: Taipei – one of my favorite cities – what New York City may look like in 200 years.

Taipei

Taipei is a great town – lots of good restaurants, not overly expensive, great people and interesting sights. For a PC hardware geek, Taipei is the mother lode – it all starts here. I took the time this trip to do a bit more sight seeing than on previous trips – one thing I did was to take some panoramic pics at Landmark Taipei Shin Kong Observatory:

Pano

Taipei sits on a river and there are mountains on most sides:

Pano1

In the distance is Taipei 101 – the world’s tallest building, measuring 1,670 feet:

Pano2

The dominant transportation mode seems to be motorbikes:

Bikes

Lots of inexpensive taxis also, so getting around is not a problem – there is also a very good subway system that criss-crosses the city. Getting around is not a problem, although always carry a business card from your hotel – if you are lost, hop a taxi, show the driver the card and he will get you back no problem (most taxi drivers speak no English).

Temples

I came across this Temple while walking around:

Temple1

Inside, people were undergoing what looks like a purification – incense sticks were moved around one’s body:

Temple

The other temple I visited was the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall:

Langsham

Inside is a series of exhibits chronicling his life. One of the buildings on the grounds is the National Theater:

Natl Th

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NOTE: The camera I used was a Canon S400 Digital Elph.

The Retail Scene


One of the things I love about Taipei is the proliferation of stores:

Street

Private enterprise is alive and well here. People work long and hard – it’s not uncommon to see stores open 7 days a week and long hours. In addition to local stores, the usual beacons of civilization are in full sway:

Mcd

Ronald McDonald rock climbing:

Mcd1

Lots of mixed signs – English and Chinese; most of the major street signs are in both languages. One of the more interesting things I noticed is that 7-11s are almost on every street corner:

711

There are so many that you can send packages among them – a neat way to send intra-Taipei packages.

I did see more than a few Starbucks – I also saw the local variant:

Barista

Aside from the Barista sign and logo, you’d think it was a Starbucks. And speaking of signs, there are some that just don’t translate well:

Dodo

And there are some that are, well, inscrutable:

Mos

As best I could figure, a Mos Burger¹ contains seaweed and rice – kind of “mossy”. Some signs are a bit misleading:

Barber

This is a LOT more than just a barbershop.

¹Paul enlightened me on this one:

“MOS Burger is a Japanese Burger Chain; you should’ve tried their shrimp croquette burger, it is fantastic. Same with Seven Eleven, it is a Japanese variant, as is the inter-shop shipping. In Japan you purchase tickets, goods, you name it and they are delivered to the nearest “Conbini”, as convenience stores are known.”

Kevin further enlightened me:

“MOS Burger stands for Mountain, Ocean, Sea, and is a Japanese answer to McDonald’s… orders made fresh, not stale pre-made, the fries are thick cut and less salt than McD, they feature American style hot dogs and burgers and fried fish and chicken cutlets with a lite Jalapeno and chili styles, or straight horseradish and mayo tastes, in addition to some sea-vegetable wrapped rice-burger entrees. Top it with onion rings and fresh salads with vanilla, chocolate or coffee shakes, and you have a classy yet slightly less-fast fresh and delicious menu.”

Thanks to you both – next time I’ll try them out.

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On Bade Road is the “Computer Store Street”:

Guong

There are a plethora of small stores all vying to sell computer gear; one example of the sheer number of stores is the Rainbow Mall:

Rainbow

A whole host of small shops – shoehorned into small spaces are more stores:

Store

Some shops seem to specialize – want a case?

Cases

And down a couple of stores is another:

Cases1

Laptops? Lots of choices:

Laptops

And lots of competition:

Laptops

CONCLUSIONS

If you ever get the chance, Taipei is worth a visit. The people, the culture and the sights are a treat. The food selection is surprisingly diverse – I ate very good Italian, German and Thai in addition to Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines. If you’re adventurous, the local noodle shops cost under a dollar US for a filling meal.

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