An 'Engineer in the East' - 17
Joe's Blogs; The latest updates from our colleague in Japan.
Summer was in the air, it was time for a summer holiday. As the saying goes ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’ well, myself and Natsumi both do as the Japanese do, which turns out to be working very very hard. This is a definite tick in the Japanese business man/woman’s favor but sometimes it’s nice to take some well earned R&R, even if it means tearing yourself away from remodeling the exterior of a high powered super car for a racing team. Life is full of difficult decisions.
One such difficult choice being where to go? We toyed with the idea of visiting Seoul in South Korea but Natsumi has already been there and tasted the kimchi, so that didn’t seem like a viable option. In the end we let our stomachs do the deciding and we chose Taipei in Taiwan.
Taipei is a hot, humid, thronging city bustling from dawn to dusk, the streets are chock full of mopeds, electric bikes and other more risqué forms of transport. The city proper is a mish mash of old and new buildings, exciting modern design and historic cultural heritage sites, like many Asian mega cities you can get a taste of both modern day Asia and something more cultural all in one place. Like a monk with an IPhone… those candies aren’t going to crush themselves!
It just so happened to be high mango season when myself and Natsumi arrived in Taipei, so it was readily available and cheap from many of the wonderful night food markets. Plus, countless other amazing street foods (quite often of dubious origin) my favourite being flattened, spicy fried chicken (gosh I hope it was chicken, or at least something with nothing more than four legs).
All food aside, Taipei was wonderful, some highlights included:
- Climbing the mountain in the middle of Taipei called 像山 (Zou Yama or Elephant Mountain). There were unfortunately no Elephants and to be honest it is just a hill. But, BUT! It is a nice easy climb away from the city grind and affords you a breathtaking cityscape view at the peak.
- Tapei 101, this is a fantastically shaped skyscraper, slap-bang in the middle of the city that also used to be the tallest building in the world until (one-up-man-ship intervened) someone built a bigger one I suppose. However it is a stunning piece of architecture, with a fascinating earthquake stabilizing system and the view! Corrr!
- If you are one of the youth, one of these young peoples, you like the hippidy hops (DJ Jazzy Jeff ft. Will Smith etc) and such then you need to check out Ximen District in Taipei, it’s full of life and light permanently it would seem. It’s a great place to grab a street snack (or several, oops), shop, amble, get an amazing Taiwan foot massage (no funny business), karaoke and more. It also has a cool breakfast street if you manage to pull an all-nighter.
That should be enough to keep anyone busy for a few days in Taipei, of course I am just skimming the surface and there is much more to Taiwan than just Taipei as I discovered. It would be hard to do an entire nation or even a city justice with one blog, but toil on we must! Oh! Did I mention the food?!