Monday, 20 October 2014

Taiwan Day 5

Day 4 was our last full day in Taipei so we decided to visit some of the museums. We visited the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall and the National Palace Museum. On our way to the memorial hall, we passed the site of the Taipei dome. It is apparently a bigger version of the Taipei Arena and to be completed in 2015. 

We entered the memorial hall from the back and by the time we reached the front, it was just in time for the changing of the guards. It was definitely an interesting process. The guards are like Queen's Guards at Buckingham Palace. They do not move at all until the changing of the guards. The guards are from different sectors of the military. I believe it was the air force serving that day. The area was cordoned off for the process and numerous signs and announcements advising no flash but there was still the odd offenders. Since most of the visitors were from mainland China, there was definitely some pushing and budging and pushing cameras into people's personal space. Sigh.. Oh well. I guess.

After the changing of the guards we explored the memorial hall. There was a hallwith gorgeous paintings on display and benches in the center of  the room for the visitors to sit and enjoy the paintings.

There was not much to look at afterwards so we headed back out. We walked through a courtyard that had the National Theater and Concert Hall and the Chiang Kai-shek  memorial Hall. The buildings were gorgeous and I think my favourite is the Freedom Plaza gate. Kind of sucked that there was a lady who was taking pictures right as I am taking a picture so she is in all of my frames of the gate. Now that I draw attention to that fact, the lady is really prominent in the picture eh?

Across from the gate is the Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall. It looked really neat and we climbed up the stairs to find a gorgeous view of the plaza. It was also a very good place for cooling down. The day was hot and humid, yet the top of the memorial hall was breezy.

 The inside of the memorial hall is a grand hall with a statue of Chiang Kai-shek in the back. We really thought that was it for the memorial hall. However, my older cousin remembered the Museum of Broken Relationships was held at the memorial hall. After failing to find it,we asked one of the workers, whom informed us we are at the upper floor of the memorial hall. If we were to take the elevator to the ground floor we would find the exhibit. Onward we go.

 The ground floor contains little shops and different exhibits. Since this is the Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall, there was an exhibit on him. We went through it and looked at the materials. It was definitely interesting as I did my Social IB paper on Chiang Kai-shek. To be in the memorial hall detailing his life and achievements was definitely a trip down memory lane.

 When we were done going through the exhibit on Chiang Kai-shek, we headed down to where Museum of Broken Relationship was located. I liked how the stand is designed. The broken heart and the statement of being happy alone.

As soon as you enter,  there is a display that explains the Musuem of Broken Relationship. Past that is a large display of yarns strewn all over the floor and across the walls. I thought it was a display but it is part of the collection.

I just liked the way they played with the wire.  Not a display.
People around the world submitted their artefacts from relationships that ended. Some were definitely interesting, and some that I thought was meh. Each display had an explanation regarding the artefact and the relationship, both in English and Chinese. There were quite a bit of stories from Taiwan, most of which I thought was a bit on the melodramatic side. There were quite a few that are from kids still in school, and they made short relationships sounds like they were life and death.

 My favourite display is definitely the thousand paper cranes. I just loved the way it was displayed. If I remembered correctly, the cranes was given to a girl by her ex-boyfriend wishing her luck. I was lucky to have the hall all to myself and take pictures without any strangers in the frame. I love crafts, and origami is definitely one of the crafts I started with. I have tons of paper cranes everywhere, made from origami paper, candy wrappers, and scrap paper. There is a saying in Japan that if you fold a thousand cranes then your wish will be granted by the crane. The fact that a guy folded these colorful cranes only to wish his ex-girlfriend luck add a touch of sadness to these colourful cranes.

There was a hall that is full of audiovisual displays, including a video of a young man travelling the world asking people what their  thought of love is. I didn't pay too much attention as I was still thinking about the paper cranes.

I should mention they encourage you to take pictures at the exhibit, they even have a check in promotion where if you check in at the exhibit on Facebook they will give you a fan or a roll of tape.

My second favourite display was the trees of lights. It was not part of the artefacts but rather a side display. There are paper discs and pens on the side for visitors to write down their thoughts and hang on  the  trees. Now the trees have a hidden trick. When you enter, the trees are not lit and there are two stumps in the center. There is also a light on the ground that says have you ever been heartbroken. Just by chance my cousin got tired and sat on the stump that said yes. The lights on the trees lit up! The saying on the floor changed but I can't remember what it said. I sat on the no, and a little cupid showed up on the floor. It was a cute surprise.

After leaving the exhibit, we decided to head down to National Palace Museum and picked up some sushi along the way. OMG.. These sushi are so good! They were cheap as they are from a chain store of sushi takeout stores. Yet for the quality and the variety, we would probably have to pay at least $20 from stores in Cow town. Definitely a good choice for refueling.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures at the National Palace Museum as photography was not allowed. We reached there about an hour before the museum closed so we quickly grabbed some audio tour guides, Chinese for my cousins and English for me. My cousin is so considerate hehe. We quickly went through few exhibits, including the jadeite cabbage. After the quick tour around, we took another bus and headed down to Shilin Night Market.

Shinlin Night Market is one of, if not the bigger night markets around and it is quite famous. Even though it was Sunday night, there was still swarms of people at the night market. Me being the spoiled brat that I am, was not happy to be at the market. There was so much people that all you can do is just follow the flow and rubbing against other people with every step. I need my personal space!! We walked around it and decided to leave. We tried many of the dishes already and there are some branches of the same stores in Ximen. We did try out these herbal soups as it was famous. I can't remember what they were called. But one with the meat was very medicinal and the chicken one was oily. Nothing special really.

When we came back to Ximen and decided to visit the Red House Theatre. There were numerous small shops and stands around and in the theatre. The prices at these stands were quite high as they are specialties and hand made. I was looking at little ties for my dogs and they were $10 CAD a piece. I loved the banana store, all of the displays are bananas dressed in different outfits, like Superman and Marilyn Monroe.

After realizing we can't afford most of the items in the store, we went and picked up some deep fried chicken and tofu from Hot-Star. This is a really popular brand that started in Shilin and has expanded to different branches in Taipei as well as in Hong Kong and Malaysia. The chicken is deep fried in one piece and they will not cut it down into a smaller piece for you. They will ask you if you want it spicy or not, though regular it does have a kick to it. The chicken was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Again, the bones were not removed, so be careful when eating it. They only dumped the spice on the center so there is only a kick of spiciness in the center. I wish it was applied evenly. The deep fried tofu was really good. It was not crispy like the chicken but it still has a crunch to it. They are tossed with some salt and spices along with some vegetables. The green veggie adds a distinct flavour to the tofu, but I don't know what the veggie is called.

After we are done eating, we decided to do something crazy. Since it is our last full day, we decided to go to Watson's for cosmetics and whatever we wanted. The crazy thing about it is that we went out when it is midnight. The store is 24 hours so we were shopping while the clerks were restocking. It was an interesting experience for sure.

After we bought tons of cosmetics and such, we went to 7-11 and traded in our stickers and got 4 plates for me and pouches to shares between the three of us. I am going to move so these plates are perfect me! They are adorable, a really good size and they are microwave safe. Yay~!! Good end to the trip!

Day 6 was the day we went our separate ways and said our goodbyes. It was hard to say goodbye to my cousins but we said we will have another girls trip in a couple of years. Though with my cousin being pregnant, I doubt she will have time for travelling for a while.

The airport was interesting. Each of the terminals had a theme to it. I think it is just for show though, as the actual boarding gate is below the pretty terminals. I only took a picture of the Hello Kitty terminal as it was adorable, even for a meh fan like me.


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