More Trips

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Taiwan4 March 17

Japan6 October 16

Europe May 16

Japan5 November 15

Korea2 March 15

Even More Trips

HongJapWan March 2014
Sichuan March 2013
Tokyo3 October 2012
China2 August 2012
Japwan March 2012
China November 2011
Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

A full lap of Taiwan in March 2017 - Page 6

Day 16 - Monday, 20 March 2017

4 down 3 to go

Now I am in Tainan. My third last destination on this trip that is going too quickly.
Today is also hot, with almost no visible pollution, I guess it must be windy. The clear blue sky is infusing the previous few days pollution directly into my skin. I am a strange grey color.

Because Tainan is so close to Kaohsiung, I had plenty of time for one last wander around the great city of Kaohsiung. Thats the last time I have to type the horribly spelt Kaohsiung.
As prevously mentioned, I wish I had more time there, but who knows, maybe Tainan will be even better. I have not been to Tainan before, even though it is after Taipei the most popular tourist destination in all of Taiwan.

I took the local train to get here. There is a local train all the way around Taiwan. In places there is an inner loop (mountain line) and outer loop (coastal line). Local line means it stops all stations and takes all day to go around Taiwan at a slow pace. I dont think anyone takes it for long distance, but it is good to know you can get to almost any tiny little town by train eventually.
My ride was all of about 50 minutes, and $3. Which meant despite hanging around my hotel before checkout as long as possible, I was hours too early to check in to my Tainan hotel. Not to worry, time for lunch and the games arcade.

On my morning walk, I was enjoying the fine looking streets of Kaohsiung, and damn it I had to type it again.

This is a huge gentlemens club. Probably quite exclusive, as I dont think Johnny Walker blue label is cheap. The building seems to be made of white marble.

Colorful flowers, so colorful. I prefer the American spelling of color.

More great streets I did not have time to walk down.

Here it is, the tri-force space ship building ready for take off.

The dual department stores of Sogo and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi. I had no time to go in either, but I think Tainan has both brands too, for future food court opportunities of a cheap dinner.

Here comes my train to Tainan. Despite being a slow local train, they have attached a sleek modern locomotive to the front. The carriages were a hybrid of what you might get on a bullet train and a local train. There are toilets even on the local trains.....hello mother.

The Tainan train station is the most basic yet. And there is no signs of an upgrade. I must point out that this is NOT the high speed rail line, thats some distance from my hotel closer to the mountains.
I was quite amused that at some point in the distant past, this many public phones were ever deemed necessary.

A random Tainan street. Yep, still looks like Taiwan. I wonder if the old Japanese and Dutch areas will look different. Yes there is a Dutch area of Tainan.

TRUE JESUS. I prefer the untrue.

I now can declare Donutes to be the best cafe, ever. Fantastic coffee, great service, 3 levels of seating, an excellent bakery on site. Australia needs Donutes.
Fun fact, the Chinese characters for Donutes translate in Pinyin to Duo Na Zi.

Donutes even has a huge library inside it with a ladder you can climb up and fall off. Its high enough to probably kill you if you fell.

Still a bit early, I hung out with some Taiwanese unemployed obese men and played car racing games.

This is just another example of the cafes in Taiwan. I might go here tomorrow if I get sick of Donutes. This one has dried flowers hanging from the roof.

Here is my hotel room. Smaller than the last, but very modern.

The unusual thing about this hotel is the enormous shower. Probably not depicted too well in the photo, but you can fit at least 9 people in the shower. Important if you are having a party in your room, which I am.

The old and the new

After the excitment of the last 4 days enjoying the city whos name cannot be mentioned, can Tainan possibly maintain the hype? Will it be a huge let down? Will there be footpaths to walk on? Will there be cheap food in foodcourts?
Maybe, no, yes, yes.
The down town area near the station is very very busy, but that was not my destination.
I first headed to the oldest department store in Taiwan, site of the first lift in Taiwan, the very Japanese Hayashi. It was old, touristy, and mostly still authentic, complete as you shall see with a shrine on the roof. Important for you to make peace before you jump.

I then decided to set out on a long walk from the oldest to the newest, hence my really creative title. Tainan now has its own mega mall, getting there was through lots of busy streets, many more than I expected. There were mostly footpaths. There were about 3 million scooters but none ran me over so that was refreshing, but then there was an enormous parking lot and a mostly empty new mall.
Not to worry, the food court was still great, and cheap. So cheap. I enjoy cheap food courts, I think I have mentioned that before.
Then despite my meal being enormous, I am now eating intereting lemonade flavoured jelly beans. Fun times.

I took a different path back from the new quiet mall, which went through a huge number of sports facilities. Undercover tennis courts, a hundred basketball courts, baseball, running tracks, ninja training courses, dog racing and parading grounds, badmington, everything you could think of, and they all had lights and they were all in use. All had a food cart or 2 and in between every one was a bubble tea shop. You can actually play baseball one handed whilst holding your bubble tea apparently.

Now I am back in my hotel room scrolling google maps looking for mountains, of which there are none. Not to worry, my last week in Taiwan in Puli and back in Taipei will feature MANY mountains.

Oh and one more thing, the fighter jets are back with a vengeance. The wikitravel page for Tainan actually complains about them buzzing the city 30 times a day and suggests you dont come here if you suffer from a nervous heart condition. I like them.

Near the old Japanese department store is an actual Jap-a-nees-ee looking shrine.

It is not at all brightly colored and there is no ATM or scrolling LED.

Here is the oldest department store. It is not a huge store, but it is 5 levels high and full of high quality Japanesey looking tourist stuff.

The roof shrine, with steps leading up to a leaping off point. This is where the Japanese occupying forces made their last stand. Those without swords for ritual disembowelment leapt off from here. A bit more history lesson for everyone.

If you climb up and lean out very far and put one leg over the edge whilst balancing your camera with one hand and using an outstretched free arm as a counter balance, you can take this photo of the view.
Worth the risk.

The inside of the store. So ancient.

Tonights random sort of blurry street scene. Actually theres another to come. Mainly because they are colorful.

This was the bank of Japan. Built in the Japanese Roman style.

Another random street scene on my very interesting walk between the old store and the new mall. There were a huge amount of actual restaurants along all these streets. Sit down restaurants with tables AND chairs, where the food is actually cooked in a kitchen rather than in the streets.
Tourist friendly Tainan.

Heres the new mall, and its vast parking lot.

The mall was quiet, it is Monday I guess, but the food court was still awesome. I think I enjoy food courts a little too much. Maybe there is a self help group or website or an app or something. Maybe I should start a kickstarter.

There is also a department store style basement food hall area, despite this place not being a department store to my knowledge.

Heres my amazing dinner. Its a hybrid fusion something. Theres a layer of omelette, with fried rice on top, then some kind of unusual tofu, and then Sichuan red pepper numbing chilli sauce.
As is always the case, I had to go into great detail that I wanted spicy, very spicy, please more spicy. And as often happens, the girl who sold it to me watched intently as I ate it, waiting for me to have some kind of unfortunate chilli related episode.

It was now late, for me, but I still had time to appreciate the carnival of curiosities on the way out. I sat on the pig on the merry go round until security came.

Then I had time to appreciate the bamboo gay rainbow. Taiwan is about to legalise gay marriage, the first place in Asia to do so. They like to remind you of that at every possible opportunity, even though it hasnt happened yet.

This is a giant bowling bowl-a-rama whatever. The photo is here because it has an AMF logo, and I realised I dont know who AMF are, I thought they might even be Australian.
No, they are not, AMF is American Machine and Foundry, and in their heyday, they made not only bowling alley equipment, but nuclear reactors, bicycles, and for a while they even owned Harley-Davidson. So there you go.
I like to educate my readers.

Last pic tonight, this is the largest building in the area. It is a huge Shangri-La hotel joint venture with Far Eastern Shopping Malls, strangely enough called the Far Eastern Shangri-La.
And horror of horror! I saw some white people hanging out front smoking. Hello fellow white people, enjoy your smoking.

There are currently 3 comments - click to add
David on 2017-03-20 said:
@adriana yes I already wrote all those things

Adriana on 2017-03-20 said:
I googled Tainan's history and attractions. Apparently it was the capital city in the past and has many little lanes to explore. Shopping wise Japanese occupation in the past seems to have provided some benefits.

mother on 2017-03-20 said:
Thanks for the toilet update. I think I should write a book rating public toilets round the world. Now are you using all the street signage to improve your Chinese character reading. So many I can read or I have known in the past. Also the ladder in the Donutes cafe says you are not allowed to climb it - I can read forbidden.

Day 17 - Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Fort washing machine

Today I went to the Dutch part of Japanese Taiwan, before doing my washing, we shall cover both in turn.

Anping is where everyone kept coming ashore to take over. The Dutch East India company managed this in the mid 1600's and soon after ran the entire country for about 50 years.
Much like all the other places where the various 'East India Companies' sent a few fat guys to take over a country, I will never understand why millions of locals didnt just decide to cut the crap and decapitate them. I guess it happened eventually, but how did they get established in the first place?
At Anping they built a series of forts. Actually the forts are all over Tainan, and they all used to be absolute sea front. But massive land reclamation over the years to build air force bases to annoy mainland China means that these forts are now nowhere near the actual sea, but they are near canals.
The Dutch fort I visited today is called Zeelandia, which means new sea I think. Theres another country full of Dutch convicts named similarly.

The rest of Anping was a bit underwhelming, the so called old streets dont look like anything special to me, and what you mainly have to look at is temples and churches. So many religious donation boxes. Also tourists and school kids. Buses full of people everywhere.
The school kids seem completely uninterested. They had all bought fake lego from an old street market stall to assemble whilst they were looking at the fort.

Anyway, todays activitiy was deliberately quite short, as I had washing to do. I returned to my hotel, to find they have no laundry! Shocking. So I found a nearby coin laundry on google and loaded up my suitcase with sweaty sunscreen infused clothes and set out to find it.
It was nice and modern, and you buy card thing to control all the machines. I fed my change into the card machine and was issued a card.
Now to buy my washing powder, with the card? No. Now I have no change, and a card loaded with money that cant be used to buy washing powder.
What I needed was a convenience store. Taiwan has the highest density of convenience stores of anywhere in the world, I know I read this fact, but today, today my friends, I was smack bang in the geographical centre of convenience store sparsity. I roamed the streets for 30 minutes hauling my suitcase in oppresive heat into the oncoming scooter apocolypse looking for somewhere to buy a drink I didnt want so I could get a 10 cent piece as change to buy laundry powder.
My struggle.

On my way to the bus I went down an entire street full of nothing but electronic components shops. Remember Tandy and Dick Smith? Of course you remember Dick Smith still if you are Australian, but when I review this in 10 years time perhaps our memory will be fading.
There are basically no good electronic component shops left in Australia. A shame, cause those 6 cent 100 ohm resistors are a good money maker.

The bus stop has some dodgy looking USB ports and a phone shelf. I left my phone there and will collect it when I return this afternoon.

Here is the Fort Zeelandia. So many windmills and blue colored pottery.

The whole time, I felt like I was being watched. And I was, by multiple drones.

A bit more wall. There was multiple levels of excavations and re built areas showing you the whole history of the place archealogically, if thats your thing.

There is no concept of gender fluidity in Taiwanese schools. Boys wear blue tracksuits, girls wear red.
The transsexual bathroom debate continues to rage on for another week!

It is blossom season. I dont focus enough on blossoms. They are different blossoms to Japan blossoms but blossoms none the less.

The dutch liked to manicure trees whilst defending from Genghis Khan.

There are 2 museums / snack bars on the site. This one has a diorama, actually so does the other one. Nice annoying fluro light reflection.

Todays leafless tree of the day photo! Somewhere around here is a shed with a banyan tree growing through it. The internet says its one of Anpings top attractions, I saw the photo online and decided I didnt need to see it.
I also decided I didnt even need to photograph the oyster shell cement kiln, which literally was just a shed, not even a tree growing through it.

You can climb up the fort tower and enjoy the view. Annoyingly its completely sealed in perspex sheets to ruin photographs and make it hot as hell.

There were just too many temples in this area. So I took a photo of just one.

Probably photo of the day, the interesting looking home to wild dogs, that is also the fishermans graveyard. I wonder if they actually buried people here or just erected stones in memory of people lost at sea?

Future residents of the above graveyard.

This is not the old shopping street in Anping, its a regular street in Anping. It is much nicer than the shopping street in Anping.

Water is running out of the demon swords. Children decided to speak to me here. I chose to try Chinese, they responded, USE ENGLISH SPEAK!

This is the famous ancient preserved shopping street. Really it is, I checked twice. Its just a few stands selling junk between ordinary looking buildings.

A manmade canal replaces what used to be the ocean. I had to look a lot on google to figure out where the city proper is. Tainan is huge. The bus ride was over 30 minutes, the actual city is on the horizon.
These tall buildings are a new satellite city.

I remember seeing these very bright orange trees on the bus to the buddha theme park the other day. I couldnt get a good photo out the bus window, so was happy to find another.

Again, this used to be ocean I think, there are big breakwaters on the horizon here and some farming fields. The swampy bits became mangroves, and apparently the black spoon billed something bird sanctuary.

A bit more canal. A map showed a warship parked along here. But there is no ship. False advertising.

And here I am proudly holding my card which I loaded all my spare change onto only to find it did not allow me to buy detergent.
I loaded about $4 Australian onto the card, which was $2 too much. As I left I gave my card to a little old lady who was entering with her washing. She looked at me very very suspiciously as she snatched the card.

Chicken tower

Tonight I wandered off in the direction of the west central district with nothing in partuclar in mind other than finding dinner. Little did I know that I would stumble onto the Chicken tower and its open at night.
The Chihkan tower, was originally called Fort Provintia, and was built by the Dutch despite the fact it looks Japanese. Actually it was destroyed by an earthquake in the 1800's and rebuilt, so I am guessing it was rebuilt in the style of the slavemasters of the time, who must have been Japanese not Dutch.
At some point, this structure was where all of Taiwan, or Formosa as it was called, was ruled from. There is also a well which is rumored to go down to a secret tunnel to the other fort I was at earlier, 8 miles away. An 8 mile tunnel. They havent been able to find it, but I will, tomorrow.

Other than spending time at the Dutch fort rebuilt as a Japanese chicken tower, I spent my evening wandering around marvelling at the fact the city goes on forever. I did not get to the end of it before I had to turn back.
A definite highlight was seeing a woman getting her hair done (big deal every second shop is a hairdresser) but simultaneously alongside her was what I presume was her little white dog getting a trim too. It was the puppy and middle aged woman centre for simultaneous grooming. Unfortunately as it was a 2nd floor behind glass, I could not photo.

And on that note, you might recall I said there were no babies being pushed about getting in the way. This is true, Taiwan has a negative birth rate (they are actively going back in?) however on the odd occasion I have seen what I assumed was a baby being pushed towards me, every singe time, it was a small dog.

Here we have the Dutch surrendering to the Japanese. When the Dutch built the place they must have realised this would eventually happen so they designed a statue in advance.

The outside of the Chicken tower. It is confusing as there are 2 towers, but the grounds are shaped in a way that its impossible to get a good shot of both at the same time.

You can climb up to the upper levels. There are signs that count how many people are upstairs and I think 10 is the maximum. I dont know how they police that effectively when its busy.
Upstairs is rickety wooden floorboards that threaten to give way.

The roof of the other bit. There are ruins behind it of what I presume was the original Dutch design with windmills and clogs and cheese.

The grounds are quite nice, they have installed bright lighting that changes colors periodically so you can appreciate what it might look like green, or pink, or maybe even purple.

Me blocking the view. Super stance - ACTIVATE.
My hair looks like an awesome helmet.

A bit more chicken tower.

Nice tree, theres a waterfall, and a wall with a whole in it and a bridge.
With my super descriptive text you dont even need to look at the pictures.

Behind here, is what actually, genuinely, possibly just may in fact be is an old style street. Its not mentioned on any map. Its mainly cafes, dessert bars and galleries, but a bit fancier than most of Taiwan, the food is prepared inside, and people dont ride their scooters into the shops to collect their bubble tea.

At the end of old street is an absolutely enormous, dark temple. This is just the door, but it goes up a long way into the dark of night. Might warrant a return visit in daylight to see whats going on.

Tainan footpaths are generally ok. Except this scooter repair guy has decided to install his hoists directly in the middle of the footpath. I am standing on the road in the traffic to take this photo.

Apparently this is the market area. And indeed off the streets there are lots of alleyways with roller doors down. I believe its a wholesale clothing market, but must only be open during the days. In case I need to buy some cheap chinese Mao pants that come up to my nipples.
Taiwan was never Mao, but they did embrace the Mao pants.

I wasnt hungry, so I just had ramen. Then out came the biggest serve ever. I ate about half. It was actually pretty good, the store claimed their chef developed his ramen skills on Mount Fuji itself!
Their chef looked a lot like a teenage girl to me.

There are currently 3 comments - click to add
bobule on 2017-03-25 said:
food looks great

adriana on 2017-03-21 said:
nice photos. Real allyways this time. I have noticed that a lot of footpath blocking is going on here too.

mother on 2017-03-21 said:
Good dead for the day. When I am an old grandma will you give me money cards too? Who were the dutch protecting themselves from with such a super thick walled fort?

Day 18 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The museum cheap electric fans paid for

Yesterday I went to the main tourist place around here. I am a tourist.
So to keep the trend going, today I went to the two other highly rated tourist trap areas of Tainan as rated by numerous websites that have zero original content and just steal from each other with outdated information.
Luckily, both locations were great.

First up, the Chimei museum. This place was awesome.
This museum is privately owned by the Chimei corporation, primarily its founder, Mr Shi Wen-Long. You may know Chimei corporation if you ever bought a cheap fan or toaster oven from a store that does not issue receipts and also has an illegal fireworks section out the back.
Turns out they are the worlds biggest producer of ABS Plastics, and now they made a museum.
The area, and building were truly impressive, not just because it exists in an industrial field in Taiwan impressive, but it would be impressive wherever it was.
The entry fee, $4 Australian. I dont think they are making money on this venture. The website said you need to book in advance because its too popular, then there was a note that foreign passport holders can get a limited number of same day tickets at the door.
Luckily, its one local train stop away from Tainan, so the risk of being turned away was worth it.

Once inside, and its definitely, absolutely, NO PHOTOS. There are Chimei corp guards in every area holding signs, at all times. And to make sure that you dont ignore them, they love to engage you in conversation about Chimei corporation and their heroic leader.
That didnt matter, the content of the musuem is fantastic. I have been to most of the Japanese samurai museums, but the collection of swords, armour and everything else here was another level entirely.
They then had every type of gun throughout the ages, including gun swords, imaging a full broad sword with a double barrel pistol in the handle. You fire your two shots then use the sword.

In addition to the whole history of weapons, it apparently has the worlds greatest collection of rare violins. There are lots of other instruments to, and these awesome TV screens showing people playing them, in 3D, some kind of new 3D that does not need glasses.

Then there is a huge collection of taxidermied rare animals, over 2000 birds, rare clocks, and painting and sculpture. Some of the sculptures are fakes, they explain how they were made, and they also had some examples of original paintings with the copy hung next to it, which was very interesting.
Museums can be boring, but I enjoyed this place more than the Louvre.

I then headed back into town and wandered around along the old street I found last night, and ended up at the confusing confucius temple. I presume the word is in honor of the man.
The temple was nice enough, quite plain compared to the regular Taiwanese style, but I dont know what the religion entails. Do you sit around speaking in riddles before handing over your money?
Whilst I was here, what must have been the entire Taiwanese air force went over, at least 50 fighter jets, plus the refuelling plane, and some of the new Airbus things that look like an enormous Hercules which are troop transports. It was very exciting and kind of strange to be standing in the grounds of the Confuscius temple taking photos of fighter jets.

To get to the Chimei museum, you go to Bao'an station. Which was painless and cheap. The museum is about 600m from the station, it is so huge you cant possibly miss it.

I passed the local swamp.

Not sure if I am still in Taiwan.

There was hardly anyone around when I arrived, that would change, but heres a school group arriving nice and early. I believe school kids get in free.

Then at least 50 tour buses arrived. If you book online you have to select a timeslot. Since I have a foreign passport, no need.
It did become busy inside, but generally you could just go to wherever the school groups werent, they were all doing guided audio tours.

This is the actual front of the building, which is a huge structure, with even larger manicured grounds. There were lots of wedding photos being taken in the grounds, including one woman wearing angel wings made from white balloons.

All the white was blinding, and tough work for my poor long suffering camera.

I made it to the entrance before the tour groups. Despite carrying my passport with me today as the website suggested I need to, they did not ask for it.

Some time later, I had finished looking at everything, including some things twice, and headed to the cafe, where I risked taking a photo. My cake and coffee was delicious, and cheap. Cheaper than it would be at Starbucks or Donutes.
They must have over ordered on the cardboard santa claus cream ornament.

If you are really lazy, you can catch an old fashioned electric buggy back to the station.

The station was quite nice, there is no convenience store in this town, but there are vending machines in the enormous museum car park for water / ion replacement salt drinks. It was damn hot again today!

Now I am back in town and looking for the old street I found last night. I am still quite far from the street, but here is the old street restaurant. It was expensive and looked crap.

Todays busy market street. Death by scooter is a real possibility here.

I found the old street. The buildings genuinely appear old and possibly Japanese.

There are a lot of cat cafes, but they dont open until 3pm, which is strange. Most things in this street dont open until 3pm.

A bit more view.

I was also too early for the hello kitty cafe.

Tainan is a surveillance paradise. Every intersection has cameras like this. One for each lane. I dont know what they are looking at.

This is the future home of the Tainan fine arts museum. It is huge. I dont know what it will eventually look like, but examining the shape of the steel framework, I think it will be ye olde Chinese style.
A small old man in a security guard uniform chased me away.

Now I am at the Confucius temple, and I am being attacked by turtles. There are probably a hundred of them in this green turtle pond.

This mini turtle is king of the turtles, overseeing his fellow turtles.

OK, one more turtle photo.

The previously mentioned, Confucius temple. It was a little confusing to me as there is no buddha.

Instead of praying to buddha, you pull the same move in front of a Confuscius riddle.

Fighter jets. So many fighter jets.

The grounds of the temple area are very nice.

You can also spend time appreciating some confusing Confuscius bonsai.

All that museum and temple excitement and a lack of lunch despite the addition of a morning tea meant I needed an afternoon snack. A balanced snack of fruit, fruit in jelly, and green tea in chocolate.

Surprise parade

Before I go on, I dont understand why I cant engage with my phone in an interactive conversation which teaches me to speak Chinese.
Wouldnt that be superior to every other app ever? It listens to you, speaks to you, answers you, asks you things, introduces new words.
There should be two modes, screen free where you can just talk to it using your headphones / mic as you walk down the street all day long, and a screen mode that shows you the characters and pronounciation clues using text for new words.
This is a billion dollar idea and there simply must be people working on it already?

Anyway, late this afternoon I was hanging out in my room trying to keep the cleaning staff out, when fireworks and music started coming from outside. I ignored it and went in the shower.
When I got out of the shower it was still going, I was sure it would stop before I could get dressed and go outside, so I ignored it.
Eventually I decided to go see what was going on, and it turns out there was a surprise parade in my honor. It had stopped directly out the front door of my hotel until I walked outside. They all acknowledged me, then continued on with their parade. I am not making this up!

After that, I found a huge new part of town that I hadnt read anything about on any website, so I guess it was new. It was nicer and more modern than the other parts, lots of movies, music videos, wedding photos and advertising photo shoots were going on there simultaneously.
I waited to be invited to join in, now that I am parade famous, but I guess they were too in awe of my presence.

Part one of the parade. LED truck.

Part 2 of my parade, my chariot. I politely declined.

Part 3 of parade, my gigantour guards.

I walked in the direction of these buildings thinking they were hospitals. Turns out they were flash hotels and a big department store and even an ice skating rink, as you shall see.

Over the road is the blue cultural zone, this is the mascot. It was in this area all the movie making and photo shoots were going on.

I got a good view of the enormous department store from here. I say department store a lot on my various trips.

Here is some art work.

More art work, cat themed of course.

Me, my little blue friend, and a cat. It was all happening.

This woman was earlier appearing with 4 much younger dancers in matching outfits whilst she mimed a song with an elaborate multi camera setup.

Time to head into the big store, 5 basement levels! One of which has Tokyu Hands.

Tonights food court. Its not the same as any of the previous food courts I swear.

Dinner was Coco curry, which they also have in Taiwan, or as some like to call it, little Japan. I had the tofu and eggplant omurice variety.

The upper levels had lots of exhibitions. I believe this one is cakes made by the various bakeries and dessert places in all the basement food halls.

Final photo is from a different store, this one under a hotel is 3 basement levels of youth shops, but also about 10 great restaurants including one I wish I went to instead of Coco curry specialising in Sichuan food.
Which reminds me the upper levels of the other store had an awesom Hunan style restaurant called 1010. Which warrants further investigation.
But I digress, 3 levels underground is an ice skating rink.

There are currently 6 comments - click to add
David on 2017-03-23 said:
@adriana - the Taiwanese book store of choice is Eslite. Its like kunokiniya, and has an English section, cafes, huge amounts of stationery etc. I believe they encourage you to sit and read as much as you want and some are open 24 hours.

David on 2017-03-23 said:
@moshenran - I have seen a show about the Taiwanese funerals with strippers, it seems they are normally on the east coast these days. They trucks they perform on look amazing with huge sound systems and lasers etc.

MoShengRen on 2017-03-23 said:
The museum looks ostentatiously grand on the outside, I can onloy imagine what it was on the inside.

With regards to your idea of having an interactive Chinese conversation with your phone, this can be done to a certain extent if you have an iPhone. Just switch the language to Mandarin (or Cantonese whatever is your bent) and you can have a pseudo-conversation with Siri in the chosen language.

Although you can ask Siri plenty of questions, it's quite limited in what comes back the other way. Most of her questions to you tend to be rhetorical ones, and when you do answer them, she pretends to have no idea what you're talking about.

I originally thought, upon seeing the pictures, that the parade was a Chinese funeral procession where they pay fake mourners to wail loudly in order to 'demonstrate' how much the deceased was loved during his time on Earth. The Taiwanese ones have even known to have hire pole dancers to dance on moving Jeeps. I'm serious! Look it up.

However, from the words on the truck it appears they are from a temple in Kaohsiung.

Adriana on 2017-03-22 said:
5 basement levels would have to be a record. What were they all. Did it have a roof garden and do these department stores have good book shops with an English section that has translated Taiwanese authors?

David on 2017-03-22 said:
The jets come 2 at a time, as they take off from the nearby base, they do actually take off side by side, but they cant take off more than 2 simultaneously so they come every 30 seconds or so

jenny on 2017-03-22 said:
You only got 2 jets in you photo. museum looks like a copy of some famous Roman palace. Old street good too.

Now there is a page 7, where I return to rain and mountains.


Day 1 - Sunday, 5 March 2017
  Late night early morning flight
  Totally full and uncomfortable
  The boring photos continue
  The unprecendented 4th update
Day 2 - Monday, 6 March 2017
  Raining cats
  There are lots of Koreans in Japanese Taiwan
Day 3 - Tuesday, 7 March 2017
  One down
  Major rain no dampener
Day 4 - Wednesday, 8 March 2017
  Coat day
  Tomorrow is all new
Day 5 - Thursday, 9 March 2017
  Crap photos featuring trains
  Third world footpaths
Day 6 - Friday, 10 March 2017
  Surprise carnival
Day 7 - Saturday, 11 March 2017
  Cement factory rubbish dump beach
  Department store rain shelter
Day 8 - Sunday, 12 March 2017
  Dry trip to station
Day 9 - Monday, 13 March 2017
  Far from station
  Footpath observance
Day 10 - Tuesday, 14 March 2017
  Rocky start
  Full of cake
Day 11 - Wednesday, 15 March 2017
  Museum run
  Lost in the swamp at night
Day 12 - Thursday, 16 March 2017
  Animal kingdom
  Bigger and brighter
Day 13 - Friday, 17 March 2017
  Razor wire defeat
  Accidental dream mall
Day 14 - Saturday, 18 March 2017
  So many gift shops
  Steak night
Day 15 - Sunday, 19 March 2017
  Sweating profusely
  Needed more time
Day 16 - Monday, 20 March 2017
  4 down 3 to go
  The old and the new
Day 17 - Tuesday, 21 March 2017
  Fort washing machine
  Chicken tower
Day 18 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017
  The museum cheap electric fans paid for
  Surprise parade
Day 19 - Thursday, 23 March 2017
  Next town over
  The modern north side
Day 20 - Friday, 24 March 2017
  Mountain village metropolis
  A quick run up a small mountain
Day 21 - Saturday, 25 March 2017
  Huge number of steps
  Ritual sacrafice
Day 22 - Sunday, 26 March 2017
  Lake saturation
  Global mormon offensive
Day 23 - Monday, 27 March 2017
  Final destination
  The best beef noodles in Taipei?
Day 24 - Tuesday, 28 March 2017
  Windy teapot
  Best ramen ever
Day 25 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017
  Three mountain rest day.
  The first repeat
Day 26 - Thursday, 30 March 2017
  Ropes and ladders
  Still time for more beef noodle
Day 27 - Friday, 31 March 2017
  Indeed more beef noodle