Downtown Taipei is a food haven. All kind of restaurants and street food can be found within walking distance from our hotel. We had sushi for lunch. For dinner we walked for 45 minutes along a number of nearby streets, and finally decided on the simple and popular Taiwanese beef noodles and onion pancake. We reckoned we should taste Taiwanese beef noodles on our last night. I really like hand-made noodle used in the beef noodle.
The Xingtian temple is a famous Taoist temple that is close to our hotel, which is just next to the Xingtian station. The temple is dedicated to Guan Yu. Many locals go to this temple to get blessing from the deity and find solace amidst the hustle and bustle. The temple architecture is amazingly intricate. The underpass that is just outside the temple is a place where people seek to have their fortune told. Their are scores of little shop operated by fortune tellers, and a few proclaimed they could even tell your fortune in English!
On our last day we visited the Chiang Kai-shek memorial complex. The whole complex is surprisingly large. There are concert hall and a national theatre within the ground, a large square and a public park. The main memorial hall is an imposing building. The main door of the memorial hall opens exactly at 9 AM. Before that crowd of tourists were already waiting just outside the door, for once the door was opened, soldiers would perform precision military drill in front of the smiling statue of Chiang Kai-shek.
The lower level of the memorial hall is a museum. Medals and gifts from various head of nations of many countries around the world, including those from the Shah of Iran, dictators from various Latin American states were on display. Chiang’s car and other personal artefacts were also on display, as well as many interesting photos of Chiang with his wife and other world leaders. I could have spend a number of hours in the place, if I do not have a flight to catch in the afternoon.
Overall, I find Taipei and Hualien to be tourist friendly places, where people are friendly and civil to one another. Transportation is easy, and taxi drivers are rich source of local information. Though the drivers would offer to bring your to places around Taipei for day trip, they were not pushy, unlike in some other countries. Another matter that seemed odd was that there were very few rubbish bins, yet Taiwan seems relatively clean. I’m was told that Taiwan has a very good rubbish collection and recycling program. Rubbish truck will collect rubbish daily which consist of three types, i.e. general rubbish for the dump, papers and plastic for recycling and food waste to turn into compost.
There are still many places around Taipei that we did not visit. Also, we did not travel to the central as well as southern part of Taiwan. If I have the time in the future, perhaps I’ll revisit Taiwan once more. But there are just so many places that I want to visit …