Saturday, October 8, 2016

One Week in Taipei, 2016, DIY

1. Introduction (current post)
2. Itinerary
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In Taipei, the people are nice and helpful without being overly intrusive, and they all seem to wear Nike or Adidas or Puma or New Balance. The millennials who are well-versed in English litter their conversations with "like," their sentences lilting with a twang straight from the other side of the Pacific. The elderly, on the other hand, can be very chatty, and they can be surprisingly joyous company in the parks or hiking trails. 

Elephant Mountain sunset.

If you come from the Philippines, you will find Taipei's transportation system very efficient and reliable, the trains and buses leaving on the dot for the most part. Seats are reserved for those in need and not routinely given up based on one's sex. You will also come to admire how the city encourages walking, how it silently disapproves of sedentariness, with its sprawling green spaces and wide sidewalks. 

Temple roof, Jiufen.

It was either this trip, or backpacking in Indochina, and of course my sedentary sister wouldn't care for Angkor Wat or Vang Vieng or Bagan. So six days in Taipei it was. I left the Philippines with very few expectations; I came home having discovered another city i could actually live in. 

Huashan 1914 Creative Park.

One of the best things about Taipei is how it straddles that tricky realm between the old and the new, the traditional and contemporary. History is alive whichever way you look, but the city also does not refuse to embrace technology. Its politics, I never really got a full grasp of--who does, in a span of a week? But the culture, the environment, the food, the sights, the people all put Manila to shame. 

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The last time I got to take my Mandarin off its dusty shelf was three years ago in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou with T, and less than a month later, in Hong Kong with E and A. This will also be a series, and I will be updating the table of contents above as I go along. A final note: The best sunsets are still in the Philippines. There really is no fighting over that.

Mt. Datun as seen from Mt. Qixing, Yangmingshan National Park.

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