Day of discovering Taipei

By the way, the shower water DID turn hot and cold while I was washing my hair last night so YEA, as i had predicted.

Anyway, I did a solitary sojourn around the hotel yesterday, starting at the Chinese Handicraft Centre (at least I tried doing something tourist-y!) but came out empty handed. There was alot of tshirts (nah!) jade (doenst look very nice) tea sets (too heavy to lug around) and art works (same). Key chains also arent my thing (but I did mull about getting a fridge magnet for my collection).

I did some research online before heading out yesterday morning and made a plan to visit the handicraft centre, followed by a investigative visit to a place I found online called Ximending – dubbed the Harajuku of Taipei.

Ximending

I stopped by a Mian Xian shop (founded in 1975 apparently) to eat starchy mian xian – you only get a plastic soup spoon to eat it with and sit on plastic chairs while you slurp.

Ah Zhong mian xian, Ximending, pic from the web

Mian Xian - pic from the web

Well, yes the set up at Ximending was quite Shinjuku/Shibuya-ish and I realise that the Taiwanese are quite influenced by Japanese things – shopping wise, anyway. Their clothes in Sogo (a major departmental store here) are copies from what you get in Sogo in Tokyo (alot of VIVI magazine stuff) and the prices! Just like Japan too. A thousand ringgit will get you 2 dresses in Sogo and maybe a pair of socks. Mitsukoshi (a posh departmental store in Japan) is also here, rooted closeby to the Taipei 101. 101 was the tallest building in the world until 2010, when Burj al-Khalifa was built in Dubai. A good long 6 years of tallest-hood for the 101.

101

We found that alot of people, girls and boys, all ride their little scooters and many ride bikes.

The weather is as hot as it is in Malaysia…but it makes me wonder…why dont more Malaysians walk or ride bikes as a mode of transportation????So weather is not an excuse! Must be the lack of 5 foot ways then…..

I found shopping in Taipei a bit of a disappointment. Things are very expensive although I believe that luxury goods are similarly priced or abit cheaper than Malaysia. We also get a 5% tax rebate at the airport. The variety of things here, the availability of certain brands (such as Roger Vivier, WINK WINK!) are good – to the Hong Kong standard. However, the other in between brands (between the uber expensive and the super cheapo at some markets) are such as Nine West and the rest. the normal stuff you get in Malaysia.

I went to Ximending with hopes of discovering quality things for rather cheap you would find in little laneways or alleys, but most of the stuff here were like RM20- Rm40 dollar polyester tshirts and very el-cheapo dresses that were mostly jam packed together on racks and all wrinkly. Basically, it was a version of Sungei Wang shops, but on the streets in shops.

We ended the day on the 85th floor of Taipei 101 for dinner. Ronnie and I were more keen on having stall food, but we were close by and planned to visit a night market last night. We were too exhausted to, by the way. So we had Taiwanese or chinese cuisine atop Taipei 101.

The view from 85th floor of taipei 101

The food was quite bang for buck, surprisingly, for something that seemed gimicky. It was RM340 per head for the dinner set menu which included abalone, scallop, shark fin (whole piece), half a lobster, 2 appetisers, rice with sea cucumber and fish maw (very nice!) and!! fruits dessert PLUS birds nest with snow jelly. OK so, we could only find 2 tiny strands of birds nest in it…haha…

A rather surprising end to the day, a romantic-ish dinner for the tired couple.

I wonder what I am to do today? I have done the top 2 things to be seen in Taiwan (according to the free guide books). Other than going to the national park or the zoo (which I even contemplated)..what shall i do?

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