Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cycle Taiwan - Day 22 Final Day in Taipei & Home Sweet Home.

This breakfast 早餐 was the last for this trip and I still prefer the porky rice in the morning.
After more than 3 weeks in Taiwan Jo must have been bored with Taiwan's breakfast, she opted for sandwich and coffee.
There are a few outlets of Taipei Milk King 台北牛乳大王成都店  in the city, the one we visited was at Chengdu Road GPS : 25.042923, 121.505172 a walking distance from where we were staying.
Our land lady for the last three nights at Mei Kuan Yuan Hotel, she does everything from checking in to housekeeping. We checked out early in the morning and kept our stuffs temporarily at Freebird Apartment for the day.
We visited Taipei Cinema Park again for a daytime experience, the six of us took a leisure walk, hoping to do a last minute shopping before we leave Taiwan in the evening.
The Godzilla made of used spray cans.
And more nice graffiti at the park.
A street (Bao'i Road) with dozens of camera and photography stores I guess you could get all kind of gadgets, the latest cameras, lens and many more here.
臺北府城北門 North Gate was built by Liu Ming-chuan during the reign of Emperor Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty as a measure to expedite urban development by encouraging businessmen to invest in or develop Taipei City. There were five ancient city gates, the North Gate is the only one that remains and the most valuable state-designated historic sites in Taipei.

Not too far away we reached the Taipei Main Station 台北火車站 and were sucked into the underground shopping paradise. The shopping spree began until the Taipei City Mall.
Lunch at Hei Mien Tsai  黑面蔡 in the shopping mall and more walking after the meal.
A tea break in between after a hectic shopping time and all were trying to finish off the Taiwan currency in our pockets.
A quick dinner below Freebird Apartment and came our transport for the transfer to the airport.
This vehicle was good enough to take us to the airport. And it's so long Ximending.
It has been a great 22 days in Taiwan, we went to so many places. At times when I look at some of the photos I can not remember the place we went. If you ask me whether I would want to come back to Taiwan again and I would say a big YES. 
Not too bad we still have some more Taiwanese dollars for beers while waiting for the plane to take off.
Thank you Taiwan for a memorable experience and hope to see you again. Goodbye and 再見.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cycle Taiwan Day 21 - More of Taipei and no more Bicycle

Good morning Ximen, let's patronise this Hockchew fishball shop 永富魚丸店. I hope my Hockchew wife would like it. Located at Neijiang Street (GPS : 25.041649, 121.505513)
The fishball, meatball and dumpling in sticky soup tasted very good and I enjoyed very much.
Another yummy fish balls in clear soup.
The stir fried beehoon was delicious too, I have fallen in love with Taiwanese beehoon somehow it's different from ourselves.
After a short walk we managed to reach the Presidential Office Building 總統府 and found out that it is open to the public for visiting. We took up the queue together with a security check and in no time we were in the building. By the way it was free of charge. It is located at nearby Taipei Main Station, Ximending, 228 Park, and the National Taiwan Museum.
The in-house guide taking us through its time in this gorgeous historical building. It was after the Chinese Civil War, the building began to serve as the Presidential Office Building of the Kuomintang leadership.
Originally it was built to serve as the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period.
The office of the many past presidents.
Portraits of the current and last two past Presidents of Taiwan.
The power of the people in Taiwan is truly a strong and powerful tool in the ever changing weather of the country.
The president and her cat at work. This must be Think Think one of her two Presidential cats in the office.
Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 was born in 31 August 1956, is a Taiwanese politician and the President of the Republic of China (中華民國總統), commonly known as Taiwan. Tsai is the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and the first woman elected to the office. She is also the first president to be of both Hakka and aboriginal descent (a quarter Paiwan from her grandmother), the first unmarried president, the first to have never held an elected executive post before presidency, and the first to be popularly elected without having previously served as the Mayor of Taipei (the capital city of Taiwan). Nice knowing the President.
The building has sustained damage from Allied forces and was restored after the war to serve as the office of the Governor-General of Taiwan province and military affairs office. 
Somewhere near Presidential Office Building 總統府 we stumbled into 2/28 Peace Memorial Park 二八和平公園. After the end of World War II, the Japanese occupation of Taiwan had ended, with administrative control of the island being transferred to China, which at the time was ruled by the Republic of China government and Kuomintang party. The events of the Chinese Civil War led up to the KMT fleeing from the communists in mainland China in 1945 to re-establish the ROC government in Taipei City with the goal of regrouping and reclaiming the mainland of China. As Taiwan island (Formosa) was previously part of Japan, the KMT worked to remove Japanese influence from the island and promote pan-Chinese cultural values while limiting Hokkien-Taiwanese language and culture, and replaced most public offices and government procedure with the KMT while seizing monopoly control of the previous Japanese state-operated industries such as mining, sugar, tea, and tobacco.
Two years after the repatriation of Taiwan to the ROC, Taiwan Monopoly Bureau agents were sent to investigate illicit cigarette sales, assaulting the suspect in the process which escalated into a confrontation with locals. During their escape, agents fired into the crowd, killing one bystander. The next morning on 28 February, activists gathered outside the Governor-General's Office demanding accountability for the events of the previous day. Security forces were present, and the scene quickly turned violent with several deaths. The public was distrusting of the KMT and presented a list of 32 Demands including greater autonomy for Taiwan Province (of the ROC), government transparency, and free elections. All over Taiwan there were cases of rioting and violence against the KMT government and institutions, with some local militia fighting against the KMT army. For several weeks, the civilians were effectively in control of Taiwan until 8 March when more ROC army personnel arrived from Fujian Province to quell the rioting, after which the KMT ruled with an iron fist until 1987 to prevent social uprising and deter communist influence, a period now known as White Terror. Estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000+ casualties during the events surrounding the 2/28 Incident.
Jieshou Park 介壽公園 is also next to it.
A lovely park located just in front of the Presidential Office Building that houses a monument dedicated to Lin Sen; President of the National Government of the Republic of China from 1931 until 1943.
We then walked to MRT NTU Hospital Station 捷運台大醫院站 as we were planning to have our lunch at Taipei 101 food court. Seen at the station was a protest by a group against the current government.
Big and interesting portrait board at the underground train station.
Taipei 101 besides being an iconic structure it has a good food court at the basement. The food court was crowded and getting a table was not easy. The variety of food in the food court is really wide and alluring. These were our indulgence for the afternoon.
We headed to Wufenpu 五分埔 (GPS : 25.047108, 121.578350) by taking a MRT from Taipei 101 to Songshan Station 松山站. This bargain paradise is a huge maze of lanes and alleys full of garments.
While I was taking a rest at Wufenpu Park nearby I saw these friendly squirrels on the tree trunks nibbling their food in containers secured on the trunks.
Originally this place was the place of the aboriginal Ketagalan (凱達格蘭族) people, the land was purchased by five Fujianese families, renaming the area Wufenpu, or five tracts of land, and was primarily farm land until after World War II in 1958 when the land was used to relocate people who were affected by a typhoon that flooded Taipei City, nearby Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市). We ended up buying a few pieces of garment for our boys and had enough of shopping.
I think this mee sua tasted better than Ah Zhong's at Zimending. The mee sua came with the standard braised intestine and oysters. 
This stall 五分埔阿家麵線 can be found at  GPS : 25.046830, 121.578307 somewhere inside Wufenpu. Remember to take away your empty bottles or trash (that are not purchased from the stall) after you have finished your food because you be asked to do so if you don't.
That's for Day 21 in Taipei City.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Cycle Taiwan Day 20 - Another Day in Taipei

Good morning Taipei, let's have breakfast here at Ximen Noodle House 西門麵店, we chose to sit around the columns closer to our bikes.Located at Neijiang Street GPS : 25.041699, 121.505717 and very near to where Mei Kuan Yuan Hotel.
The foods in a show case that was enough to entice us to try them.
This is heavenly yummy and sinful braised pork, intestine and eggs.
Having fun selfie at Ximen Station after our a good breakfast.
A Thursday morning in Ximen heading to it MRT Station to start our exploration in the city.
Hello the sign shows only two bicycles at a time and here you were plus 6 at one go.
From Shilin MRT Station at  GPS : 25.101756, 121.548816 we rode to 國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum about 3km away. At a ramp to the upper level.
We spent a few hours in the museum, the home to the world's largest and finest collection of Chinese art, such as painting, calligraphy, statuary, bronzes, lacquerware, ceramics, jade and religious objects. Our bicycles were allowed to be kept in the luggage section and it must be bagged. 
What a small world we bumped into Alan and Aroha again when we were about to leave the palace. When will be the next time we meet again.
It was then back to Shilin MRT Station where we had our lunch here at 小南鄭記碗粿,  for an interesting sticky fish ball soup together with their tasty rice.
The next spot was Tamsui 淡水, a place where people said must go whenever you are in Taipei. It's an old fashioned town with very thick history of Japanese, Southern Fujian, the native Taiwanese and interesting architectural attraction.
Armed with our bikes we explored the riverside of Tamsui to see the array of restaurants, cafés, shops, hawker stalls, street performers, traditional cultural performances and the gateway to Taiwan's scenic North Coast.
The shopping has already began at the last city we were visiting.
We bumped into the two brommies from Hong Kong where we met at Taoroko at Tamsui.
The old street of Tamsui 淡水老街 was vibrant with so many visitors, old shops. eatery outlets and interesting art works like this one on the wall.
The kid with the placard promoting its egg sponge cake right opposite the road and also our stop base for shopping.
We saw a crowd at a bakery shop selling the popular traditional Taiwanese egg sponge cake made from flour, egg, milk and sugar. It was so yummy.
Half of us proceeded checking Tamsui out while the other half chosen to take a break for a beer and seafood by the riverside when the sun was about to set.
At the same restaurant we re-grouped at same place we had our happy hour for dinner. It called 淡水北墾丁啤酒屋 at Huanhe Road  GPS : 25.170923, 121.437726 very near to the passenger wharf. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
The wife does most of the shopping while the husband does the purchase handling. Photo credit : Ahpek Biker.
Don't leave Tamsui empty handed or not you are not allowed to board the train back. Good night Tamsui.