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Taiwan4
March 5th - 1 April 2017


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October 16th - November 11th 2016


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November 2nd - November 26th 2015


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March 3rd - March 26th 2015

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HongJapWan
March 6th - March 28th 2014

Sichuan
March 23rd - April 10th 2013

Tokyo weekend
October 25th - October 30th 2012

China again
August 27th - September 13th 2012

Japan and Taiwan
March 1st - March 22nd 2012

China
November 1st - November 18th 2011

Korea, mainly...
September 3rd - September 17th 2011

Taiwan / Hong Kong / Singapore / ?
March 25th - April 11th 2011

London, for the third time
June 25th - July 17th 2010

Japan and Hong Kong
May 2nd - May 18th 2010

London again and Hong Kong
February 26th - March 25th 2010

London
September 5th - 22nd 2009

South East Asia
December 3rd - 18th 2005

A full lap of Taiwan in March 2017 - Page 1

Day 1 - Sunday, 5 March 2017

Early morning late night flight

Time for another months holiday. Its been 3 and a half months since I came back from Japan, so thats long enough of not being on holiday.
I am going back to Taiwan, for 28 days, and doing a full clockwise lap of the island interspersed with some back tracking, day trips and ascents of the middle.
It is not a very big place so I might walk.

Travelling to Taiwan is easier via Hong Kong or even direct, but instead I am going via Singapore, which is in the wrong direction really.
To make it even more interesting, my flight is leaving Melbourne at 1AM. So I am typing this now late the night before my early morning flight in the Melbourne airport lounge.

This will be my 4th time visiting Taiwan, which is 4 more times than most people, except those who still think its Thailand and tell me about how they got so drunk when they went that they did things they regret with what used to be a man.
Somewhat apt, as I am typing this it is gay and lesbian mardis gras night in Sydney, but I am not there, and Taiwan is not Thailand. Not even close. Also I have never been to the LGBBQTI Mardis Gras either, but its on tv news in here so it gets a mention, cause I have to remain topical.
Taiwan is the Republic of China. It is within the 9 dash line. Donald Trump pretended to be interested in supporting them, before he got smacked down by Xi Jinping.

I will of course be climbing up things, eating things, staring past the camera for unnecessary selfies, and typing shit that is partly true right here, twice a day, possibly 3 times in this day because its a long journey and I have nothing much else to do.

As I write this, the hypochondriac I have become lately due to near endless repeats of getting man flu is wondering if I am getting man flu. I have reasons to suspect this. Others have it. People on the Skybus had it. They coughed flecks of stomach lining onto me to prove it.
Time will tell.

Thats probably a long enough intro, which might get refined when I have more things to say. Except the site code has been updated, and the new format has been back ported to lots of old content. Mainly because I refuse to accept defeat and move to something standard that everyone else uses.
It should be more readable, work better on mobile and bigger screens, show you the describing text on the larger photos and allow you to paste links to all matter of social media and see it do clever stuff. At least thats the plan. Its probably broken.

It has become somewhat of a tradition for photo number 1 to be off my balcony.
Construction of a view blocking 40 level building is commencing. It will take at least a year to block my view. So I will have to move apartments in the next year or so.
Amusingly, someone drove a truck into the car park and smashed a fire sprinkler off and flooded the whole lobby, so theres giant fans and dehumidifiers trying to save the carpet down there right now.


The winner for the most boring photo of my entire trip is the fast pass for customs and whatever that Singapore Air gave me in Melbourne. Except there was no line anywhere so I didnt need it. Maybe I can ebay it.


As its after 11pm, I had already had dinner, but that doesnt mean I cant have some cake. Its balanced out with fruit and vegetables, all on one plate.
This is runner up for most boring photo of my trip.


Totally full and uncomfortable

Normally my flight stories talk about an entire row of seats to myself. Not this time.
My 7.5 hour flight to Singapore was totally full. I do not think there was a single spare seat on the 500 seat A380. This made for an uncomfortable flight.
The cabin on these things is dated, the tv screens are old remotes attached by cord, no touch screen, and all the buttons are worn off and dont work, so I put it on the map and didnt use it.
At 2AM, they serve dinner, great, thanks for turning the light on.
3 hours later, and 3 hours before landing, they serve breakfast. So thats optimized timing to enure no one can get any sleep at all.

My part of the cabin was fairly quiet, but people would strobe the brilliant white laser burning light on all the time because their remotes did not work. Thus waking everyone in the cabin.
Also everyone was sick. These are the end times now. Trump is the angel of death, the planning of the end of the world by bird flu now mutating to insect flu started a decade ago.
Taiwan has bird flu right now. They are killing every chicken, so I plan to eat beef. But there is no 2017 flu vaccine yet, so I will get bird flu, and enjoy my time in a Taiwanese hospital arguing that I have travel insurance that covers my Tamiflu placebo access. Perhaps I can practice speaking Chinese with the nurses, I know the word for nurse so that might turn out well.

Now I have another hour or so to kill in Singapore airport, looking at butterflies and giant goldfish, then another 5 hours to Taipei. Then a bullet train or maybe even the new airport metro!

5AM and Singapore airport is not at all busy. But things are open. 1AM Melbourne airport and it was very very busy, and every store was shut.


Inside the butterfly house, and this is the incubation pod for the world ending plague spread by insects engineered by ex Monsanto employees and people annoyed at the CRSIPR patent rulings.


I am starting early this season.


The boring photos continue

Surely the most boring start to one of my long winded things ever.
Update 3 on day 1 and I am in my Taipei hotel, and its still only 4pm in the afternoon, which means there may be a record breaking update 4, hopefully with some photos of things other than planes and hotel rooms.

My flight was again, 100% full, a smaller plane, but I am certainly not used to these full planes, Singapore Air is making squillions. However unlike the previous flight it was comfortable and everyone went to sleep and no one was obviously dying of any illness that I could discern. All good news.
Even better was the excellent breakfast they served, which was like the Tim Ho Wan slimy rice cake things with mushrooms inside served with a chilli sauce. The best thing I have ever eaten on a plane I think.
I also did a full lap of the metal tube, I was the only non full blooded asian on board, in economy at least, I dare not breach the curtain. So as the only quasi round eye, I was pleased, and small children looked at me suspiciously. Of course by now look I like young einstein, an observation I have also made on previous flights.

Once off the plane, I had to get money, get a sim card, and get the new metro line into the city. It started full operations about a week ago. It did not collapse. It has been over 10 years in the making, and the views are impressive, parts of it are very elevated, just tempting future earthquakes.

Unfortunately, once I got off I exited the wrong side of the station, which is one of my main traditions, and spent an hour walking to find my room, which is excellent and has free snacks. I am eating free doritos now, because they are free. Also the internet is excellent. I am tired as tired can be so this is all probably nonsensical and lacking in any kind of humor.
That should be the last of the procedural retelling of facts, the next post later this evening will have actual photos of things other than planes, trains, airports and hotel rooms.

Yep, its the Taoyuan airport, which is where the main airport for Taipei is located. I like it a lot, its a huge square that takes over an hour to walk around, I will do that when I fly out because I am a fool.


Yep, its the inside of the new metro, much like the others, but shinier, and goes higher into the sky between buildings.


Yep, its my hotel room, located near the main station, City Inn III, its right near City Inn II and across the road from City Inn I, I previously stayed in City Inn Taichung, which was unnumbered, but also excellent.


One last photo of my hotel room, yep.


The unprecedented 4th update

As forecast, here is something that has never happened before, a fourth update on a single day.
This is largely because my day started on Saturday at about 9pm when I left for the airport in Melbourne. I have not slept since I woke up early on Saturday morning, it is now Monday morning Melbourne time. Surprisingly I dont feel tired, but I am tripping over a lot and I did try to pay for water with Australian dollars, probably time for bed then.

Before that, a brief tale of where I went. Due to my unending quest to do over 20k steps every day, a record I have kept without exception for 9 months now, and is the reason I chose the flight times that I did, I still needed to get more steps, lots more, 15,000 more. Thats a long sentence, this is going to descend into chaos.
So I picked up google maps, which means loaded a website on my laptop, and drew a line bearing due east, for the new hot night market thats taken over from the old tired night market of Shilin. Shilin got done up, now no one goes, apparently, the new place is on the eastern edge of the city and is called Raohe. Getting there got my 20k steps plus a lot more, it also took me along a long road for a long way until the long journey ended at the night market. I caught the train back.

This is the long street I walked down. It had footpaths most of the way which is a bonus. I tripped over a lot because every shop maintains their own footpath, all at different levels. So many levels.
The taxi driver is livid that I am taking his picture, theres no way he can chase me so bad luck for him.


This is the Taipei stadium, which was under construction when I was last here. On there this evening is the womens formal ball gown 9-ball Asian championship.
You might think thats a joke, but its on live tv. Its women playing snooker / pool in fashionable formal gowns and being marked on their performance.


Nearby the arena is a Lego cafe. The greatest idea ever. They sell drinks, cakes, and have a huge amount of Lego to use. You can also buy Lego.
I would go to this but if you went in Australia you would be arrested and jailed unless you are Archbishop Pell, in which case the Pope has your back and you can get away with whatever you want.


This polar bear is below the legal age for drinking. I started a trend with this photo, as soon as I took it 4 other people including 90 year old grandmas had to take the same photo.


I stood at this intersection for a while and admired concrete pillars. Theres trains in amongst it, 2 different kinds.


Finally at the start of the night market. It was way too busy to take any photo of how busy it is once inside. So busy that they have stalls in the middle and people policing that you walk all in one direction either side of the stalls.
If you want to go back the other way you have to wait for a designated gap between stalls selling stinky tofu or boiled entire squid. It took me over an hour to go to the end and come back.


Taiwan night markets are famous for their food, this is a giant spring onion pancake. The cook pulls bits off and adds other stuff before cooking in entirely too much oil.


Taiwan version of Japans Pachinko. Its a lot quieter.


The end of the night market street has a temple with suitably garish colors. The other amazing thing about the night markets is they are only at night, all the stalls are gone during the day. They re set up every single night and boil vats of oil in the street.
Each time a night market burns to the ground, which seems to be often, they try and make them nicer and safer, and then no one goes.


Its still new year in Taiwan.


I have no idea why there were so many lights in the dark back streets nearby, there were basically no people enjoying them, so I did.


My dinner, I had to wander far away to get a place with a seat, otherwise I would have to stand and eat beatles off of sticks. I wanted something fairly light, so I had wonton soup and pickled vegetables. It was actually quite delicious.


On the way home I stood and admired the train station ceiling. Which is made from tubes of glass of varying sizes to give the impression of a topographical map. Why? I have no idea, no one else seems to notice it.
Thats all for the 4th update!


There are currently 15 comments - click to add
drude on 2017-03-06 said:
They look fine on my old computer, but on a mac with retina display they look soft

phil; on 2017-03-05 said:
The only blurry photo is the ceiling of the train station, rest good.

David on 2017-03-05 said:
@drude I am surprised you find the pictured blurry? I have a Sony RX100 camera, generally considered about the best money can buy. I always thought my photos were very clear

drude on 2017-03-05 said:
Please can you buy a new camera. On my new laptop the text now looks super crisp but the images are blurry. It's only fair you have to upgrade if I upgraded, right?

mother on 2017-03-05 said:
I have been looking at Taipei on Google Earth. It looks small? Your hotel is orange and has lots of cartoon characters in side it? The buildings in the area are not very tall. How far from Taipei 101 are you and are there other tall buildings?

David on 2017-03-05 said:
@bobule here at falseguide we are proud to be clothing optional, but not encouraged

bobule on 2017-03-05 said:
Excellent! Works on iPhone. I read your blog while naked in bed. How uncomfortable are you feeling now?

Jenny on 2017-03-05 said:
Yep, nice hotel room if you like see through bathrooms.

Adriana on 2017-03-05 said:
Read first entry. Hope no bugs catch you. Time to start wearing a mask on buses and planes maybe.

David on 2017-03-04 said:
I am just going to leave all the test comments here, cause actual people seem to have put test comments which amuses me.
Hi Leo!
Nino... I have no idea who you are!

Leo on 2017-03-02 said:
Test4

Nino on 2017-02-21 said:
Test 4.
Looking forward to reading about your next trip!

David on 2017-02-18 said:
test 3

David on 2017-02-18 said:
test 2
line break

David on 2017-02-18 said:
test


Day 2 - Monday, 6 March 2017

Raining cats

Today I went far to the East of Taipei to a recently famous spot called Houtong, famous for being an abandoned coal mine that is now overrun by feral cats.
Due to the large population of cats, tourists from all around the world, which means China, Japan, Korea and me, flock to Houtong to see if they can get rabies.
Unfortunately, cats are weak, and do not like to stand out in the rain. Neither do people with straight black hair. So this just left me with a few of the lesser cats, standing in the rain, freezing, on the side of a mountain.

The rest of the days plan was to climb the mountain where the coal used to be mined from, but that was out also, so instead I chased after cats who were trying to dodge puddles before returning to Taipei.

You can find a lot of info about visiting this spot on nicer days on the internet, just search for Houtong cat village, it looks like it would be a nice place in nice weather, its very near Jiufen which is just about the greatest place in the world for scenery I know of, a place I will go back to in better weather should it ever come.

Whilst waiting on the platform for my train back to Taipei, which is about an hour journey and costs $2, I started to notice all the trains were delayed. This caused the station guard to keep coming to tell me in English what the issue was, only his English was terrible.
On the third such attempt he was speaking English and I was speaking Chinese, and we were both as confused as each other. The small group of cats watching us on the platform were highly amused.
The highlight of the cat village experience was when I got on the train, which sat briefly at the platform, only to see a couple of cats get on the train. Once the beeping for the doors to close started, they ran back to the platform.

My room has windows, but they have an opaque coating, it was also quite dark when I woke up. So when I stepped outside I had no idea that it would be raining hard.
The hotel guard tried to give me an umbrella, I was nearly injured whilst frantically waving to decline it. I am terrified of umbrellas. This is not a joke, I have an actual fear of the things.


Houtong station. Rain increasing. Chances of high quality celebrity cat appearances decreasing.


They have built a special bridge / cat run over the tracks, with lots of food and hiding spots to encourage the cats to cross here rather than on the tracks.
There were lots of them hiding in here, but too hard to photograph. They are all very very well fed, so much so that tourists are forbidden from feeding them in case they get too fat and get stuck in their sleeping boxes.


Over on the non village side of the tracks, where absolutely nothing was open at 9am, its just me and the cats, watching the rain.


I was supposed to go up that peak to the right, not today. Also this is the view from the cat street of cat village. There are lots and lots of cafes being run out of peoples old homes which presumably used to be where coal miners lived.
However they are all shut due to rain and lack of tourists. These people owe their livelihoods to feral cats.


zzz


I think these three girls live / work here. The cats know them well, they have buckets and bags of things to feed them.


Back in town now, and this is the Taipei main station. Big deal, its a train station. But despite having been to Taipei 3 times previously, I somehow have never been in here.
It is not the High speed station, which is under here and down the road, it is the slow speed above ground station. Quite like a Japanese station, lots of restaurants. My train to Hualien on Thursday will depart from here.


I was surprised and frustrated to step outside of the station and be greeted by no rain and mostly dry streets. Its almost as though it rains more in the mountains than it does in the city?


This is a typical Taipei backstreet. Taipei really is the most interesting city I know of to just wander around endlessly. I think its the contrast between ultra modern and old and dirty.
This street is somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, they have some nice paving in the road but the footpath is covered in scooters and boiling oil so you have to walk on the road and dodge small trucks.
Also the shops are food, old women clothes, scooter repairs, speaker wire, random hoses, food, foot massage, hair dresser, dog hair dresser, food.


As I was back early, I had time to wander down to Ximending, the youth culture area of Taipei. Except I am old. Also at midday the place isnt busy at all, its very bright at night and full of bad perms on scooter riding gangsters.


The delivery trucks are a nuisance. They seem to just drive up crowded streets all day and night blasting their horn and nearly killing everyone.
I guess if Taiwan were to bomb Syria it would be very easy for this to end badly.
Except when the car in mall massacre happened in Melbourne recently it was because some guy found out his brother was gay which made him realise he is also gay so he decided to drive up a mall and kill everyone?
Perhaps we will never know what that was really all about.


This is pie face. In Taiwan its called Pie Pie. Pie Face is Australian and has gone super super broke 3 times now. Someone keeps giving them enough money to go broke again.
There is a drama involving the owners of the brand stealing all the money and disappearing to New York to open a high end pie restaurant there, that since closed, and annoyed a billionaire casino owning investor.
I have no idea if Pie Pie is part of the brand officially or someone stole the idea in Taiwan, but I also notice they sell Australian beer, fish and chips and a few other Australian things.


Part one of my lunch is a cream of corn soup with mushrooms and a side salad. This was probably the better part of my lunch.


Part two of my lunch was a vegetarian rice bake. With a raw egg cracked on top. It was not great unfortunately, basically no vegetables, just rice, cheese, raw egg. It was not at all like the picture.


There are lots of Koreans in Japanese Taiwan

Its history time. In the beginning, Taiwan was a tropical paradise with Hawaiians on it, or people that looked like them, I will meet some next week when I go down the east coast.
In about 1895, after the French gave up their efforts to take over, Japan decided they needed more sugar, so they succesfully took over Taiwan.
The Japanese stayed here until they failed to take over the whole world as part of world war 2, Americans arranged for some Chinese to come and claim it back as part of the treaty.
Then Mao kicked a heap of non believers out and they all fled to Taiwan, where they instigated martial law, which lasted from 1950 until 1987. There were a number of attempted revolutions during this time.
As a result, Taiwan has issues with Japan, China, and their own ex rulers. This leaves Korea. Taiwan now loves Korea.

In more recent times Taiwan and China came to an arrangement to allow bi lateral tourism, but then Taiwan started talking about independence or installing American missile defences or finding their own map drawn by a fisherman, and so China decided to close all the tourist companies down.
This lead to a near collapse of many big hotel chains and bus companies in the last 2 years, who built themselves up on Chinese tourism. So Taiwan needs tourists, they have Korea and me.

So to celebrate my new found celebrity status of much needed tourist, tonight I walked from my hotel to Taipei 101 and had dinner. It didnt rain, there were lots of new buildings since I last walked that way, and I saw many interesting things along the way.

Taiwanese heater. Stick a heating element in a $5 fan. What could possibly go wrong?
Also its about 20C, yet people have winter coats and are sitting in front of fire breathing fans, in the street.


Tonights random intersection, this one features a monorail. I hear those things are awful loud! It glides as softly as a cloud!


Look closely at this ad, its an anorexic woman with a hose coming out of her, with two children emptying fat into a jug of some kind.
Child labour laws in Taiwan are a little more liberal.


One of 3 Sogo department stores within a few hundred metres of each other. I think this one is very new.
It is all linked by underground malls that follow the train lines, full of blind women giving foot massage.


The Sun Yat-sen memorial museum, at night. I have been there in the day before. At night its darker.


I limited myself to just one.


All of these people are lined up to go to the Din Tai Fung in the basement. Quite possibly the worlds busiest restaurant. It is about 6pm on a Monday.


Interesting advertising campaign.


I have been to this foodcourt before, it is very good, I highly recommend. Along with Korean food they have 2 very good looking Ramen places.
Ramen has taken off in a big way in Taipei, I saw upmarket places all over the city. I will probably go to one soon.


And as ever, finally my dinner, Korean of course, cause I am in a tourist area of Taiwan. The photo showed it raw, they served it up cooked, which was strange.
The side dishes were excellent, and the whole thing was about $8, which I thought was good for the location.


There are currently 6 comments - click to add
chock on 2017-03-24 said:
these are lovely pictures of new york i love the one with the empire state building now in pink. looks so different from when i was there in 1923

David on 2017-03-06 said:
@mother there are actually a lot of tall buildings under construction, a new 80 level building next to taipei 101 is almost finished, It has no lights on at night so I did not photograph it.
There are also a number of 40-50 level buildings near the main station where I am staying that are new or under construction.

The food courts are the same as Japan, very modern, very clean, food is a bit more varied than Japan. I am quite sure that all the flash ramen places are run by actual Japanese people.

mother on 2017-03-06 said:
Are there no other tall buildings round Taipei 101? do Taiwanese food courts have hand basins and cleaning cloth for customers and tray return areas like in Japan? How clean are they in comparison?

David on 2017-03-06 said:
@jenny your new laptop has about a quarter the resolution of a retina macbook pro, but now I need to find an apple store and understand the problem more.

Just making the photos larger will result in huge page load times, its already a lot of data.

jenny on 2017-03-06 said:
Tell Drude your photos look crisp on my new laptop.

Adriana on 2017-03-06 said:
Interesting cat village. I shall check it out. I notice that all the lanes in Taipei have numbers - eg lane 1 etc. Very convenient if not imaginative.


Day 3 - Tuesday, 7 March 2017

One down

First of all, in exciting news, my hotel has a self serve kitchen area with snacks, drinks and a coffee machine that also makes an awesome hot chocolate. I have had 3 already. Anytime you want you can go help yourself to hot chocolate and fermented fried tofu snacks.

In even more exciting news, I got to climb a mountain, despite the threat of rain. It rained once I got down, so it all worked out well.
Getting to the mountain, as ever, quite the challenge. Take the train to the end, and then wait for bus #666. Really that is its real number. The problem is the map at the bus stop waiting area suggested that bus 666 goes 3 different ways depending on how its feeling and what the season is. I had no idea, and neither did the confused Taiwanese grandmas also waiting.
We agreed to just get on it when it came and see where it went, they seemed to like me a lot, as if I was their pet Australian.
Anyway, the bus went along a river with a big drop and cities cut into cliffs. Quite big cities. I am guessing at least one of them was a hot spring resort as it had a giant Holiday Inn and a Lamborghini dealership. Actually there were lot of great cars parked all around the area, but this was not my stop.

As it turned out, my bus went to where I wanted to be, a small town called Shihding.
From here I found the path easily and hiked along the ridge of Huangdidian, which consisted of lots of ladders and rope climbs and perilous slippery rock ridges with guide ropes.
It was a most excellent hike, quite easy as the ascent was stairs and then it was just a long ridge. However I think I came down in the wrong spot, as it was quite a long walk back to the road and then even further to the bus.
Anyway, I had a great time, and since I was down from the hike early, I had time to stop off at a town I had seen from the bus on my way to the hike.

The train to the hike transferred at this station, I think I took a photo under it last night in this exact spot, but I cant be sure.
It was a very very grey day all day, my camera made the photos brighter than it really is, so dont complain its dark, cause it was actually darker!


The cable car goes to the zoo, I went there the first time I came to Taipei, it is an excellent zoo. There is also mountains behind it, and I think you can climb along them to where I went today if you have plenty of time and dont get lost. I get lost often.


This is the township of Shiding, or maybe Shihding, Taiwan argues about how to spell stuff. The real spelling is definitely Shiding but signs use the old spelling interchangeably, and Google generally uses older confusing spellings.


The town is very interesting, there are covered shopping streets cut into the cliff. Despite its ramshackle appearance, most of the shops seemed quite fancy.


Since it looked like rain, I headed to a conveniene store and asked for a rain clothing in Chinese, which worked. I have selected this fetching number.
Unfortunately it did not rain so I have no photo of me wearing it to share. I am also highly wary of its one size fits all claim.


The first hour at least, was endless steps, a hard slog indeed! But I was loving it, It made the long sleepless flights worth it, I was also hoping it would rain so I could try my new $3 coat.


I thought this was handy, but the only one I saw all day was 200 metres from the start of the trail. They should put them at the remote bits of the trail. Actually my phone does that so its only useful if you are using a paper map. So they are useless.


The thing sticking up in the middle is Taipei 101. I had good phone coverage all day, probably as I always had line of site to the worlds tallest phone tower.


Then the ladders started. Taiwan has an abundance of stainless steel. The USA has banned the import of Taiwanese steel this week due to trade dumping or whatever that term is for making something cheaper than the local market can make it, it used to be called competition.


There was no actual summit today. I just hiked up and down many ridges, in this shot the trail is bending around to the right.


I was super impressed by the long ladders. The longest was over 100 steps. I could have taken a lot more ladder photos but I had to put my camera away to keep my hands free so I didnt plummet on day 3 of my holiday.


In addition to ladders there was rope / chain ascents and descents with foot holes cut into the rock.


And there were somewhat perilous slippery rock ridges to scramble along. I decided the rope was unlikely to save me.


On the way back down there were many such moss covered ruins.


And then the path came to a road, greeted by flowers, and a sign saying 180 minutes to the main road and town... surely not? Jogging time.


I passed at least 5 such temples, each farmer seems to have their own.


Inside each one was a similar setup of action figures. Thats the Harry Potter head wizard guy on the right.


I was so thrilled when I came across a strangely located rubbish truck depot and waste transfer station. Tax write off joke time.


I got back to the main road. Too bad its 100 metres above me.


Instead I had more temples to visit, sometimes in the form of covered bridges.


Whilst walking along the road in the rain, people slowed down to laugh at me. I laughed at houses built on the side of a cliff. We were all having a great time.


After finding a bus, I decided to get off at another town back closer to Taipei, This one was called Shenkeng.


It had many nice shops for tourists, and a lot of shops selling the local variety of Tofu, which apparently can cure every disease and cause great suffering to your enemies.


Shenkeng has an 'Old Street', which is code for, 'we knocked down everything and built a new street with a few of the old bricks used in it'.
It was a really nice area, even in the rain.


The bus I then caught went through a series of huge tunnels, and emerged very near Taipei 101. This is the other big building under construction nearby which I mentioned last night.
Thats all for now! A great day indeed despite the very grey weather.


Major rain no dampener

Theres a flood. And yet still I went out without my raincoat. Not really a problem, there is an extensive underground network of tunnels.
In these tunnels you can see all manner of things, including the biggest assembly of kids practicing whatver the Taiwanese Gangnam style routine is I have ever seen.

What I dont understand is how anyone can ride around on scooters in so much rain, and survive. However I did notice a lot of ambulances when I briefly arose to the surface.
One good thing about Taipei and their crazy footpath situation is that largely every storefront is undercover, so despite enough rain to drown a small child, you can wander around and look at shops selling inflatable pools, or every kind of ladder or sprinkler fittings or tea pot heating elements without getting wet until all hours of the night.

When I got back to my hotel I went into the convenience store next door to buy a pepsi, I am at the back of the store selecting my beverage of choice when a guy comes in off his scooter, soaking wet, carrying for some reason a big tray with multiple cartons of eggs stacked high. He then proceeds to slip over and land on the eggs. Both he and the girl behind the counter found this to be hilarious, except now I am trapped in the store with no way out except through a sea of broken eggs.
But how did he ride along carrying the eggs? He was wet and wearing a helmet. This is a mystery that will never be solved.

Yes, its raining a lot, scooters are floating away.


Time to head underground. And wonder how the underground doesnt fill up with water. Maybe it does.


Heading further underground, to enjoy all the wonders that Coldplay Avenue has to offer.


Still further underground is a truly excellent food court. I pondered pizza for a while. Decided it was too unhealthy.


Just part of the big food court. I counted more than 50 different outlets. There are various smaller restaurants around the outside with their own seating also.


Instead of pizza I chose the most healthy option available, pay by weight vegetarian buffet. Yes seriously.


Total cost under $3. I wish they had this in Australia, its the perfect meal if you then want to go somewhere else and eat dessert.


When trapped indoors I am not above taking photos of my starbucks matcha tea latte. I note it has a smiley face. I always get a smiley face instead of asking my name. I think smiley face is code for foreigner.


Now that I was full of vegetables and green tea powder, it was time to head further underground, and into the lowest pits of Taipei, which is book street.
This entire underground area is all bookshops, with no customers.


A bit further along and they have set up the dancing area for children, with mirrors and murals.
So there I was, a middle aged, unshaven foreigner in black camo pants covered in mud from earlier, with a dodgy looking pony tail and slicked back hair taking photos of children dancing.
The police were very understanding.


Shin Kong Mitsukoshi has stores on either side of the road, much like Sogo last night.


This cat enjoys sitting here watching everyone go by.


And heres some proof that I am a lunatic. I climbed up onto the overpass to take a photo of traffic in the rain. Nice reflections. The people below assumed I was going to jump.


There are currently 5 comments - click to add
drude on 2017-03-07 said:
I want a video of the eggs guy, or at least a photo

Jenny on 2017-03-07 said:
You should be nice to your mother and answer her qs seriously. I like the traffic photo in the rain and dinner looks great.

bobule on 2017-03-07 said:
So.... did you wear your raincoat?

David on 2017-03-07 said:
I mentioned I did not get to wear my raincoat.

There are no toilets in Taiwan. They dig a trench each time.
Also most shops have designated spitting areas, old men have competitions, the best spitter gets awarded a special hat for the day.

Non Chinese speakers will not be allowed entry, you have to pass an exam at the airport. Failure means detention in a toilet free cell until deportation can be arranged.

Mother on 2017-03-07 said:
We think Taiwan might be worth a visit. A few questions though. 1. Do they have clean toilets? 2. are there lots of them? 3. Do Taiwanese have good manners ie. not spitting or shoving? 4. Is it easy for non Chinese speakers to get around?
Unrelated question 5. did you get to wear your rain coat?


To get to page 2 click next at the top, or click latest to go to latest, hopefully it works, it usually does.

Contents

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
  Engorged
  Surprise carnival
Day 7 - Saturday, 11 March 2017
  Cement factory rubbish dump beach
  Department store rain shelter
Day 8 - Sunday, 12 March 2017
  Cloudview
  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