Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Asia Mega Tour II - Another Side Of Taipei

If our walking tour of the day before had taken us through some of the ultra-modern, upscale parts of Taipei, today's walk in nearly the same area, managed by ourselves, took us to areas that were much less touched by moneyed new development.

The section of Taipei we visited used to be called Bang-ga and was one of the first areas developed by Qing Dynasty Chinese from Fujian Province 270 years ago. Built originally in 1738, the Lungshan Temple is associated with a mother temple in Fujian. Wife and I were taken by both the large number of people visiting not just for tourism but to do devotional respects and its incredible architectural detail.
Entering the Temple

 Inside the Temple grounds

Some examples of the detail work in the temple


Examples of paintings

We went on to a small street that specialized in selling herbs

On the way to another temple we passed houses that were definitely not new, and fancy

Going through local streets

We reached the Banka Qingsha Temple dating from 1856

Finally we ended up at the Bopiliao block, a block of buildings dating from the Qing Dynasty that are now being restored.

Lunch - Scallion pancake and a very good wonton soup
We finally finished our day at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial house

A tranquil oasis surrounded by the city's major train and bus stations
I wonder if when your Buddist washing machine dies it is is reincarnated as a toaster oven?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Asia Mega Tour II - Taipei History Tour Pictures

As mentioned in my previous post, on our first full day in Taipei, we spent the morning getting our transportation organized (metro passes and train tickets for later on to go to Hualien). Then in the afternoon we had a tour from a group that provides free tours (you are asked to make a 'donation' that goes to the organization and (I hope) the guides). The tour was great. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, were willing to answer tough question, and were very personable. We also had a great group of people from all over including four others from the US, three from Malaysia, two from Spain, one from Italy, one from the Philippines, and one Taiwanese. I spent much of our tour time interacting with all these folks.

But on to the pictures!!!!

On to the Taipei Main Station

From a wall in our room
I think a letter is missing.
 Two shots from our local Metro Station
They play very cool music to indicate a train is arriving or departing
There's background music in the station as well
That's not true of all stations.

Taipei Main Station and environs

A panorama of the main hall of the station

Notice the lack of seating?
So what does the enterprising Taiwanese group do when they need to kill time, eat lunch, etc, while waiting for the train?

There is a very 'hip' element to the better off, younger Taiwanese 
As seen by this hot chocolate purchased by Wife
Lunch today? 
Vietnamese Pho
Our tour focused on history.
Taiwan has NOT historically been a part of China. It was pretty much populated by indigenous people until the 18th century when the Qing dynasty (the Manchus) colonized the island. It remained under Chinese control until 1895 when Japan took it over after the Sino-Japanese War. It remained under Japanese rule until the end of WWII. Then the defeated Nationalist Chinese moved in when they lost to the Communist Chinese. The Nationalist were not nice people and basically acted as conquerors. So historically Taiwan really has not been a part of China's millennia long history. Remember this when you hear the People's Republic of China talk about Taiwan being historically a part of China. 

We visited a central part of the city that used to be enclosed by city walls
Now there is only a gate or two remaining or monuments to the gates because when the Japanese came in they decided that the city walls were too old fashioned.
Many of the civic buildings used in the city date back to the Japanese period. And they are all Western in style! Like this the presidential palace.
 Our guides told us that the Japanese architects, influenced by the desire to modernize coming from the Meiji Restoration (remember that?), could do things in Taiwan that they couldn't do in Japan because it would have rocked the boat too much.

We had two great guides that were full of energy and personality


While history was the focal point, it was the city itself that really grabbed me. Now remember we were going through what today is definitely a more upscale part of town. You will see the difference in my next post.

Gardens and monuments

 This is supposed to be some kind do it yourself acupressure therapy walk. Looked like torture to me.
Art students

Can't have too many toilets
Temples? Got to have Temples

Building Art? Love building art in Asia

 Wife making cozy with the Qing Dynasty architect (who you will note has a coffee in his hand)
And let's finish with one last panorama of one of the major city intersections