Saturday, September 29, 2012

17 September 2012 - Taipei Day 1

Upon arrival, went to sign up for the Youth Travel Card (some discounts here and there) and Chunghwa SIM data plan (7 day unlimited usage, NT450). took a NT125 Kuo-Kuang bus 1819 to Taipei Main Station. It probably took slightly more than an hour. More transport information on Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport website.

Checked in at about 3pm at the very basic Lion Palace Hotel, costs NT680/day Mon-Thurs, NT780/day weekends. Good enough for rest and baggage storage. Allocated room 545. He had used Taipei Travel to check out the various lodging choices, location was top priority.

With the data plan activated, Google Maps was his best friend on a walking mission. Got to Dihua Street to admire the architecture from olden days. There were many shops, selling dried goods and Chinese medicinal herbs. From what he read online, this place is especially busy when Chinese New Year is near. People start stocking up on those goods in preparation for celebrations.

Grand old architecture.

Then the stomach started grumbling. Time to start walking to the first night market of the trip at Ningxia Street. Recognized the icon on the right as Formosa Chang. Further up towards the end of the street were the game stalls.

First blood was spilled at this stall selling fried yam balls. Two variants, one purely of yam (NT15), another with egg yolk (NT20). Got 2 of each.

Displaying the rich yolk.

Many stalls were still only starting to open for business, so he tried one of the shop houses by the street. Had some Taiwanese style cold noodles (NT40) and some dumplings (8 for NT40). Nothing fantastic, but definitely filling. Had only enough room for Aiyu Jelly drink later on (NT40).

Again, with the help of Google Maps, he walked to Shuanglian MRT station. On the way there, he took a shot of the busy street from an overhead bridge.

Got an EasyCard for NT1,000 (NT900 stored value, NT100 deposit). Note that the deposit is refundable, minus NT20 as an administrative fee. Took the metro to Shilin MRT, and then a bus to the National Palace Museum for some night shots. Was it R30, 255 or 304 that he took? Can't remember...

It was a cool night, nice and quiet to sit around.

Then while taking pictures, someone just emerged from the shadows and startled him a little. He had thought that the security one level down were the only people around. 

Another section of the National Palace Museum. Hills/mountains in the background, good feel about it.

Last stop of the day was the North Gate (Cheng-en Gate) the only gate that retained it's original look since the late 1800s. Source: wikipedia, My Kafkaesque life

Not a perfect ending to the day, hot water in the bath wasn't working, so he had to shower with cold water. Called up the receptionist to have it fixed the next day. That meant that he got to enjoy another session of cold shower. If memory serves him well, the temperature outside was 23 degrees Celsius.

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