21 December 2005

cold, dark, taipei

i was in taipei on business in early december, when winter was just starting ...

now i understand the hype of winter fashion. unlike the malaysian idea of cold weather clothing, which is just some sports jacket that makes you look very uncle or auntie, winter fashion is actually cool. people dress up in dark shades, with jackets, boots and scarfs that really look good once you're somewhat competent at color coordination. but how hard izzit to coordinate black and black, seriously ?

taipei 101 has now surpassed klcc's petronas twin towers as the tallest building in the world, so i couldn't help but visit the observation platform on level 89 ... you pay NT 350 (RM 39) for the visit ... just don't visit in the winter when the skies are normally cloudy and somewhat hazy. i had one good day of sunshine in taipei, but work kept me away from visiting. you can even go to an outdoor observation deck on level 91 (but must pay extra NT100 ~ RM 11) when weather permits.

on the one day when i was free from work, the weather wasn't all that good, and visibility was restricted to the surrounding areas only. still, it was a good and worthy visit ... highly recommended and definately topping the petronas sky bridge visit (which is only at level 41 vs taipei 101's level 89 + 91).

david took me and raymond to the pub districts near the shangri-la far eastern. not too bad. ended up having some nice beer at this place called carnegie's where the patrons dance on the table top ... it's ok .. for a place like taipei, i expected a wilder pub scene.

david also took us to a very nice taiwanese restaurant hidden away at a basement. it's so different ... unlike most other restaurants, its doors are locked away and you need to know how to get in there ... :-) ... most unusual place i've been to.

also visited the shih lin night market. like most night market nowadays, it's mostly food and clothing you'll find there. i couldn't find a single store selling taiwan tea :-(. the cold weather didn't deter the locals from turning out in force, and there was plenty to see. the local vendors can pack all their goods in 30 seconds ... it's amazing to see how quickly things can be stuffed and packed and ready to go when the police comes a calling. i need to ask the taiwan girls how come they all so slim and tall one ... what they eat ?

the weather this time of the year reminds me of the british isles ...somewhere between 10 - 15 celcius. not seriously cold, but still chilly enough to make my round the city walk very pleasant indeed. i took a walk from the taipei 101 down to my hotel at jen ai road via zhong hsiao east road, walking past the old haunts i used to frequent when i worked in taipei. so much have changed, yet so much stayed the same.

i regret not being able to visit the news room at UDN, but being a working trip, there really wasn't much time for any social activities.

taipei 101 at night looks .... cold ... you can see the chill blowing off its face ... soon after this photo was taken, they actually put up lights for X'mas. too bad i didn't get that.

and during the day ... 101 looks different. opinions in taipei are divided over this tower. some say its unnecessary, some like it, some think it'll be good for taiwan, some don't ...

the sinyi district from the 89th floor on taipei 101. taipei is just crowded.

here's the famous zhong hsiao east road. looks very docile, but looks are deceiving - it's one of the hotspots in taipei after dark. the lanes behind this main artery has a lot of good eating places and also some entertainment.

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