Monday, May 18, 2009

18 May 09 – Day 2 (Taipei)

We left the hotel around 8.30am to take MRT to Yuanshan Station before taking Bus 208 to Martyr’s Shrine to see the change of guards. We got there at 9am and I thought we had missed the session. There were already many tourists there taking photos of and with the guards. About 9.15am, we saw the guards in green uniform marching out to relieve the two guards in white. The whole process took about 15min and along with the guards were the tourists. I was joking with SWT that the guards also had their own escorts. After the process, we walked around the Shrine and left around 10am. Waited for Bus 213 which will bring us to the National Palace Museum (NPM) but after 15min and it still hadn’t come. So we took Red 3 to Jiantan Station, took MRT to Shilin Station before taking Bus 255 to the NPM and got there by 11.30am.

Front view of Martyr’s Shrine's front gate

Martyr’s Shrine's Terrace

The track from the numerous change of guards sessions

As it was International Museum Day so it was free entrance. Audio guide was available for NT$100 but we need to leave our passports with the counter and so we toured the Museum without the guide. There were a lot of tourists; mainly Mainland Chinese and they were a rowdy bunch. Besides tourists, there were also lots of students there as well. I had only planned to stay for about 1-2 hours at the NPM but SWT was very interested in the exhibits and so in the end we stayed till around 4+pm. Took us quite a bit of an effort to see the famous Jade Cabbage coz the tourists all swamped to that glass case when they were let in. SWT and I were short and so kena shoved to the side by those aunties and uncles.

National Palace Museum

Took the same bus back to Shilin Station and took MRT to the Taipei Main Station to go to Taiwan Storyland. Reached there at 5pm, bought the NT$280 ticket where NT$150 was redeemable for food, games or souvenirs. Walked around, took photos and ate dinner using the entire NT$150. Left around 6+pm to head back to the hotel. Rested and then headed out to Ximending (XMD) at 8.30pm. The streets were full of people even on Monday night. There were many shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories, food, etc, etc. However, the things were not suitable for me, they were more suitable for the youngsters.

Some photos from Taiwan Storyland :

SWT's dinner, redeemed fully using the entrance ticket

My dinner, redeemed fully using the entrance ticket

There were also pushcarts selling snacks. Was tempted to buy the snacks but I kept delaying coz I still wanted to browse other shops. Found 格子趣店 (武昌街二段30号, in front of Watson’s) and saw O’mani 谐音糖果. Tempted to buy but I don’t think anyone would know how to appreciate good fun. Instead, bought 10 pieces of the stickers, which can be pasted on the EZ Link card while SWT bought many facial masks. Then we went to Watson’s to browse before heading back to hotel at 10.30pm. Looked for the pushcarts but found none, then I saw a policeman on his scooter and I understood why. Bought Tiramisu from Café 85 and a cup of bubble milk tea along the way as supper in the end.

Cakes & Tea

Overall the day was half good and half bad. Managed to catch the earlier session of the change of guards but the time spent on transport put me back on track again. Only planned for 1-2 hours in the NPM but ended up spending about 4+ hours there. Hence pushing my timing back by a lot and thus not much time to explore XMD and didn’t manage to find 美国二手货市场 (昆明街96巷8号), 生活工場 (台北市武昌街二段81及83號), Xiao Zhu’s shop (台北市開封街2段66號, between Wanhua Sport Center and Paradise Hotel).

Thoughts: Martyr’s Shrine change of guards was worth watching. As for Martyr’s Shrine itself, just go in take some quick photos and proceed to the next station. NPM is one of the must-go museums in the world. It is most famous for the Jade Cabbage and Meat Stone, which is currently located on level 3. You have to queue up to get into the room. I'm not really into Chinese History but then the exhibits were rather interesting. I like to look at the pottery and the weapons but not so much on the paintings and calligraphy.

I like Taiwan Storyland coz I get to see the things that I used to see and played during my childhood years and some of that stuff were even older that I am. Ximending was a very trendy and busy place. Lots of shops selling clothing, shoes and accessories but I found that they were more suitable for teenagers and maybe those in early twenties or those with good figures. I can't get any shoes either, probably because those in fashion now don’t suit me. As for accessories, I don’t wear much so didn’t get much either. There were pushcarts selling snacks and I regretted not getting the snacks when I saw them.

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