Saturday, 25 August 2012

Rick gets kidnapped

To all readers of this blog! This post does not come from your dear friend Rick. He put his nose where he should not have. So now we have kidnapped him!

What? You laugh? Just have a look at our ship.

And a bit closer here.

Now you got it. Good. So far Rick is quite well. He cannot run like always but at least he is still in one piece.

Now of course we do not plan to keep him on our ship for eternity. We are ready to let him go if you pay us a ransom. We believe that such a famous traveller is worth at least one million dollars, isn't he? We expect to see the money by end of next week, otherwise we will have no choice but pushing him a bit on his way.

So go back and look into your piggybanks. Rick will be waiting in his new hotel room.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Maokong Gondola

When I visited Taipei 101 I have shown you some of the hills surrounding the city. I have told you then that they hide a surprise. Here it comes - the Maokong Gondola.

 It is a gondola lift that can take you up the hill to see the panorama of the city.

Actually, it will take you to 4 hills that are on the way.

The gondolas travel on cables attached to huge pillars. 

 On the top hill you will find lots of tea-houses.

 But of course it is the view that matters. Taipei in its full beauty.

Obviously the greatest highlight is Taipei 101.

It is getting really late, time to get back to the station.

* * *

This is the end of my trip to Taipei. My Jumbo waits for me.

And a final farewell from me and this nice lady.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

When I was planning my trip to Taipei, I decided to learn a bit more about the city, the country and its history. Well, I must say that "complicated" is not a word strong enough to describe it. Actually, the official name of Taiwan is not Taiwan but "Republic of China" and its government considers itself to be the only legitimate government of all Chinese territories, including the mainland China. Of course, the government of the People's Republic of China considers itself the only legitimate government of all Chinese territories, including the island of Taiwan (considered to be the 23 province of P.R.C.). This all dates back to 1949 when the forces of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese Civil War to the communists and he had to flee with his government to the island of Taiwan.

Chiang Kai-shek remained the president of the Republic of China until his death in 1975. He remains the most important person on the island - you will see his face on all types of coins. The people of Taiwan have also built for him a Memorial Hall.

 You will enter the Memorial Hall area by a huge archway entrance.

On the right and left side you will see twin buildings of the National Theater and Concert Hall. The theater on the right:

A real nice piece of architecture. Just have a closer look at the details.

 The Concert Hall on the other side of the plaza looks very similar.

The Memorial is a big white building, built in the tradition Chinese style. It is said to be inspired by the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing, China. I have not seen the other one yet but I definitely put it on my list.

In the heart of the Hall you will see a huge bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek. It is located in a huge room behind this large porch in the middle of the building.

Generalissimo is smiling.

Inside the Hall you will find the museum with various artifacts related to Mr Chiang, including his old office equipment.

But I liked best his Cadillacs.

It seems like he had at least two.

 He must have been an interesting man.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Taipei 101

Now it is time to reveal the ultimate goal of my Asian trip - Taipei! Taipei is a very nice city. I particularly appreciated its great metro network that allows travelers to move around the city smoothly.

Taipei is best know for its tallest building (actually it is now the second tallest building in the world) called Taipei 101. "101" is a reference to the number of floors above the ground.

Taipei 101 includes offices and a shopping mall. But the best part of it is of course the Observatory.

You will need to wait in the queue for some time but when you finally reach the lift, it will take you to the 89 floor where you will be able to admire the panorama of the city. You will see the buildings ...

... and also the green hills surrounding Taipei. Actually there is a surprise regarding the hills as well but I will come back to it in due course.

Taipei 101 is nicely illuminated at night. I could not take pictures after dark but I can show you what it would look like.

Those of you who are really brave can take the staircase and go a bit higher.

You will find there the outdoor part of the Observatory.

To be honest the wind there was quite strong so I did not spend much time outside. I wonder how people on top floors feel about this heights.

Speaking of wind. As you surely know, Taipei is in the zone where typhoons happen regularly. To protect the building, the architects have placed between floors 87 and 91 the so-called Tuned Mass Dumper. It has 5.5 meters of diameter and wights around 660 tones. It is suspended on huge steel cables and reduces the movement and vibrations of the buildings during typhoons. It looks like this.

The dumper was the inspiration for the mascots of Taipei 101, the "baby dumpers". You can see them everywhere in the building.

Finally, my last stop - the special post office with boxes designed for different adressees.

Dear friends, watch out for my Greetings from the Sky!