Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taipei Street Walkin'

I spent the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Taipei Cycle Show, meeting with current vendors, finding new vendors and searching out new goodies to potentially bring to market on down the line. Since I wrapped up my work Friday afternoon, I had a Saturday free to explore Taipei.

I've learned that a hearty Western-style breakfast from the hotel's buffet is the best way to start the day in Taiwan. For a semi-picky eater like myself, it ensures that I've topped off the tank enough so that lunch can be minimal or skipped altogether.

Belly full, I stumbled out onto Taipei's Min Chuan Road and headed, uh, left. For someone who generally has a very strong sense of direction, it's odd for me to not know which way I'm traveling. But Taipei is generally on a grid system with very few diagonal streets. My goal was to walk around as much as I could, as well as try to get lost by zig-zagging through alleys, shops and the like. I figured that once I was sufficiently 1) tired or 2) lost, I'd hail one of Taipei's plentiful (and cheap) taxis and hand the driver a business card from my hotel.

Commuting to and from the show the past few days, I noticed a temple just a couple of blocks, um, that way from the hotel. A fully charged camera and ≈3GB of free space on the memory card sat in my right pocket, always ready to capture whatever interesting thing or person caught my eye. I had a bunch of great ideas on what I was going to write, good (for me at least) captions and an overall theme. However, that was hours ago and I don't carry a notebook to jot down my ideas when they're fresh. So here goes, a haphazard, half-assed photo documentary (and I mean that in the loosest way) of today's adventure.
scooter w/ training wheels
Taipei's Min Chuan Rd
Xingtian Temple
a wave of scooters rushes off when the light turns green
salsa dance lessons in a park
India Laurel fig
palms in the park
Taiwan's flag
a vintage scooter I may be able to afford!
typical Taipei apartments
meat in a street market
more street meats
lots of choices
some living ones, well most of 'em, there were a couple of floaters
dried fruits and nuts
bra shop at the outdoor market (psst, you're doing it wrong)
more clothes from the market, I'm certain this is officially licensed Apple apparel
even more fishies. for reference, $1 US = $32 NTD (New Taiwan Dollars)
...and snouts. this would make a great mask, who wants to try it on?
Chinese herb pharmacy - no Walgreens on every 3rd corner here.
truck doggie
more general Taipei
Taiwanese love their protective shipping film
Taiwan Arena

Overall the city is dirty, but clean. Dirt, grime and soot cover every building more than a few years old, and the air hangs thick with diesel and two-stroke exhaust. Many residents still seem to incinerate their trash. However, it's clean in that there's very little trash on the streets and virtually no graffiti. In fact after seven hours on the streets today, this is all I noticed.
You couldn't walk for seven minutes in a major metropolitan area in the US without seeing some random tagging.
monk in the second market I found

walking thru the second market of the day, too bad the camera doesn't capture the smells
I don't know why I like the Taiwan dogs so much
"magic" bus
big-ass sculpture under an elevated expressway
the second temple of the day
temple detail
one of two pet pigs hanging out at a scooter shop
shopping district
I missed the finish of the Tour de Taiwan by about 45 minutes
Taipei 101, world's second-tallest building (and tallest occupied building)
rental bike fleet
group B Audi quattro model that I really wanted (but not enough to spend $90 US)
sushi conveyor, Taipei 101 food court
no American beef here!
ceiling, Taipei 101 mall
Lady Liberty outside New York, New York department store
inside Muji, a cool Japanese apparel and housewares boutique in New York, New York
five guys making pork dumplings in a restaurant in Sogo department store
awaiting the traditional bamboo steamer
cheesy Brougham ("bro-ham") badge, small street auto parts store
"real racing style dush lamp"
shop dog at a casket store
back at Xingtian temple - much busier this afternoon maybe I'll take more pix tomorrow

So that's it. My feet and legs are toast and even though it's only 7:35 PM as I type this, the eyelids are very heavy. Nothing on the agenda tomorrow, so maybe I'll head the other direction when I leave the hotel in the morning.


Allison Holmes said...

I wish we could be there with you.

Velorambling said...

Cool Snapshot of life.

Harold McGruther said...

Man, I was BUMMED we didn't hook up this time around. I really could have used more friends and fewer 2-hour lunches this trip!