To be honest, I toyed with having this joined with the previous post, but I saw the word count and thought it best to split them up.
With only the morning and early afternoon available before I had to be on my way to the airport it’s not as if I could venture too far from where the bags were stored. Luckily today’s places of interest aren’t exactly too far away.
As nice as it would have been to have gone back to the Expo Park and see more of the pavilions (assuming that they are more likely to be open on the weekend) we instead made the two bus journey to see the National Martyrs Shrine.
Regrettably a lot of it was closed for maintenance (not that we saw any workers around at all… which is a little bit suspicious) so we couldn’t go into the shrine itself or even really too much of it from the outside. However, I think we got the picture. This is a grand set of buildings with a beautiful backdrop of the tree-covered mountains.
It was nice that it was practically deserted when we were there, apart from the guards, which meant that there really was an eerie silence with the exception of our footsteps and the occasional car passing by all the way on the other end of the shrine area.
Now, last night – because I like to procrastinate as I write these posts, much to the chagrin of the hub – I started reading up on the UK’s policies with regards to the import of fruit and vegetables. I mean, I brought back myoga from Singapore so did I think it was okay then? Turns out its fine as long as it’s under a certain weight. Yippee.
So, from the Martyrs Shrine we travelled down to the intersection of Xiongxiao Fuxing to pay a return visit to the food section of the massive Sogo department store. By some miracle I got the last pack of water bamboo and even snagged another list item at the same time (both will probably have to be cooked tomorrow as I undergo the worse part of my jetlag… Ack).
It was lunchtime and, since we hadn’t had breakfast, we paid a return visit to the Yamasaki Cafe in Zhongshan for some delicious pastries and an ice cold chocolate soy milk.
And that’s about it for my time in Taipei. I’m writing this towards the end of the hop between Taipei and Hong Kong before the horrendous 13 hour flight back to London… and have no idea how I’m going to stay awake long enough to I shock myself back into my time zone.
A week ago I felt like jumping up and down because I was so thrilled to be in Taiwan and now I cannot help but feel really sad having left. It’s only been about 30 years since Taiwan went from martial law to one of the shining democracies, but apart from the scars of the shrines and memorials you cannot tell.
Walking around Taipei, it really feels like this is a city on the rise. Lots of work is being done in improving things for residents, which has the knock on effect of increasing the likelihood of more tourist bucks. In my time here I really didn’t see that many Westerners – probably enough to count on two hands and a foot – but that’s probably going to change.
I don’t know what’s in store for Taiwan in their future, but for now things feel bright and I can only hope that it stays bright for a long time to come. Next time in Kaohsiung!