Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Taipei in A Day

We arrived in Taipei early in the morning, a cloudy gloomy morning.  Our first stop was an unexpected place for any tourist - China Telecom 中华电讯, as we wanted to have a local mobile line for easy communication and internet connection.  The deal was not bad, NT600 for 7 days of unlimited mobile data.    However, the process was long.  We waited for more than an hour just to get all the paperwork done.

Next, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.  I was here 8 years ago, and the Chinese words on the arch was something else, but now, it is FREEDOM SQUARE.

Luckily Chiang's bronze statue is still in the hall, intact with the change of politics in recent years.

Of course, the point of focus here is always the change of guards, which happens once an hour.

The change of guards ceremony somehow has this magic potion that it catches the fancy of tourists all around the world.  From Bangkok's grand palace, to UK's Buckingham's Palace, to whatever other places you can name, the ceremony guards always draw the attention of tourists from all walks of life.

Anyway, poor guy.  He has to standstill for an entire hour.

The ceiling is decorated with the Nationalist Party's symbol and also a symbol part of the Republic of China's national flag.  The blue represents the blue sky, the white represents the bright and shining sun.  Together, they symbolize the Republic of China to be a country with no corruption, no injustice, all citizens will be equal and government will be clean.  It is a vision we also hope to achieve.

In the memorial hall, there are some artifacts on display from Chiang's era.

Chiang's Limo 

Chiang's Office Replica

There were quite a lot of tourists from mainland China.  It is fascinating for them to see all these, as Chiang has almost always been described as the bad guy on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.  

Coming out from Chiang's Memorial Hall, it is the old city gate of Taipei, JingFu Gate.

Directly after the gate, it is the President's Office.  The building was previously the Governor's building duirng Japanese rule.  

On our way to the President's office, we met a guy with a big lens and camera on his neck.  He was very kind to show us the way, and informed us that on some days, the President's Office is open to the public each week.  He could even tell us that the president now is out for tea!  

50 meters away, it is the Bank of Taiwan, the de fanco central bank.  

After such a long walk, it was time to sit down for a cup of coffee.  Right opposite the Taiwan ChengHuang Temple, there is the Astonia Cafe.  

Taiwan ChengHuang Temple

Astonia means Star?  The Chinese name of the cafe means star.  The cafe is said to be a popular place for the scholars and people in the culture industries, such as writers, movie directors, etc.  Its famous patrons include the late Mrs Chiang Ching-kuo.  That also explains why there is a Russian bias in the cafe.

Russian Coffee

Russian Milk Tea

It so happened that some movie director and related people were sitting next to our table.  They were discussing some movie stuff, and from time to time, some actor(s) would drop by.  It was however strange that the actor spoke English, with a SE Asian look rather than local Taiwanese.  

Christmas was just around the corner, how could I leave out the Christmas lightings in Taipei.  

Merry Christmas to you!

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