Friday, January 18, 2008

Trip Day 14 - Taipei

Jan 8 - Tuesday

John went off to catch up with friends again so I took the boys to see Taipei 101 - the world's tallest building.

We took a taxi - we did not manage to use the subway in Taipei because our hotel was a little too far from the nearest station. Getting around in taxis can be challenging, as the drivers don't speak any English. However the map we had showed the building, and it is known as 101 (one-o-one) even by Chinese speakers.

The building was certainly impressive, although expensive (350 NT-nearly 25AUD each for both Jack and I). The audio tour explained most of the features visible through the windows.

The centre of the building has a large wind damper which reduces the building's movements. It is a large heavy metal ball on cables and hydraulic pistons and can be viewed from the middle of the observation deck. This has been nick-named 'Damper Baby' and a cartoon character with a large round head has been used on all the promo items. Very Chinese. They love cutesy cartoon characters.

After we left 101 we went looking for lunch. Before leaving home a friend had sent me the URL for a dumpling place she recommended. It had three outlets in Taipei so we went looking for the one nearest to 101.

Addresses in Taipei are a little odd. Streets are laid out on a grid. The main roads have names, either north/south or east/west of the main axes. They are then numbered in sectors as you move away from the centre axes. Side roads are numbered along with the houses. The address we were looking for was street X East, sector 4, lane 168. This turned out to be quite a large road with lots of side alleys so we were missing part of the address. We jumped b a taxi to try the second address which was in a shopping centre on the main road. My Chinese turned out to be good enough to explain the sector and number.

We found the restaurant and it was worth the hunt. The dumplings were Shanghai style with soup inside the pastry as well as meat. They were very tasty and we stuffed ourselves silly.

We returned to the hotel - hotel name card got us there - and had a rest.

I then took our washing to a nearby laundromat. Clean clothes at last.

I caught up with John. One of the friends he wanted to catch up with was sick, so his morning had not been as good as ours. He had managed to get to a computer store and pick up a second EEE PC for Doug.

Dinner was the night market again. We found fried dumplings this time, very tasty and Jack was happy. The people of Taipei love their food, it is cheap and tasty. It is so easy to over-eat here as you try to taste everything on offer.

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