Taiwan travel – Part 1 (around Ximending )

My Taiwan travel ….

2nd October 2013:
We arrived in Taipei on a morning flight from Singapore. It took about 4.5 hours for the Tiger Airway jet to touch down in the Taoyuan airport. We boarded the Kuangguo shuttle bus service to downtown Taipei  for NT$ 125. From the Taipei West terminal we took a short taxi ride to our hotel in Ximending for NT$70 or merely $2.60.

The first thing that strikes me is the friendliness of Taiwan cab driver. Even though the journey is a short hop away and we paid him peanuts, the cab driver was obliging and helpful. He is not the only friendly taxi driver that I encountered throughout my Taiwan journey. Next is the ubiquity of scooters. Riding motor bike to get around is still very popular despite the advent of underground train or Metro.

Our hotel or inn is situated in a lane of the Chengdu Road. It seems that many roads in Taipei are named after the mainland cities like Guangzhou, Nanning, Nanjing, Chongqing etc. Only motorcycles could pass through the lane. Small shops, cafes, and hair saloons are found on both sides of the lane leading to our hotel. The hotel is on the 7th floor of a nondescript building.

Ximending is a downtown area that is popular with the young and trendy. It can be very crowded at times. There are a number of retail outlets selling cheap fashionable clothing that cater mostly for youths. For food, we had Taiwanese ‘ho chien’ or oyster omullet and cold tofu. In later part of the evening, we visited Ning Xia night market and had the some smelly toufu and Taiwanese ‘ho chien’. The oysters in the Taiwanese ho chien are bigger than those in Malaysia/Singapore. The Taiwanese version uses a lot more potato starch and usually topped with ample amount of red sauce.

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Next … Part 2 ( in Taipei)

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About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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