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Tremendous Taipei

I never really got to say much about sightseeing in Taiwan after the conference since everything got so busy. After our wonderful post-conference dinner in Danshui, we crashed back the hostel and woke up to a disappointingly drizzly morning. It was a silly idea considering the cloudy skies, but we headed straight to the Taipei 101 - the tallest tower in the world at 101 floors. It is impressively huge. So huge that the tower poked through the clouds and we wouldn’t have been able to have seen anything from the top so we decided to come back later after visiting the Sun-Yat Sen (who forced the Empress out of power) memorial around the corner.

Taipei 101 Cartoon

The Taipei 101 is also really cool because it has the fastest elevator in the world, going from top to bottom in an incredible 36 seconds! That’s 1000m per minute! Charlie and his glass elevator really need to upgrade. We also managed to find some Taiwanese fried chicken with mixed vegies for lunch in some back alley behind the world trade center (which we casually strolled through, thongs, singlets and cameras in hand) before discovering a totally awesome suburb of Taipei which only sold computer and camera gear. Seriously, it was streets and streets worth, probably bigger than my university campus (and that’s big, folks!).

The Confucius temple was lots of fun and very colourful, with red and gold decorations and pagoda rooftops adorned with intricate dragons. Seeing as our hostel was close to one of the most famous landmarks, the Chiang Kai Shek memorial, we visited this enormous plaza at the end of the day so that we had a quick getaway back to the hostel for feet resting time. I could not believe the magnitude of this place. It is probably possible to fit over 100 football fields in the space. My camera couldn’t capture the entire space, so here’s a panorama. If you want to get a feel for JUST HOW FREAKING HUGE it is, click on the photo.

Chiang Kai Shek Panorama

Another grand attraction of Taipei is the Shilin night market where you can experience things such as:
- Stinky tofu (it smells worse than gtk+)
- Asian Elvis impersonators with awesome gold pants
- Never-ending arcades stacked full of Dance-Dance-Revolution machines
- Random old Taiwanese men giving random hints on life
- Buying “pets” as close to being Bonsai as you can get without shoving them into a jar
- Awesome fruits, like durian, dragon fruit and rose apple

And then there is the Grand Palace Museum, which true to it’s name is both very grand, palatial and is host to the finest collection of Chinese art in the world.

That’s a lot of links in one post. Here’s another one for good measure:linkety clinkety (completely factual)