Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Travellogue Taiwan: Taipei


My China Airlines flight for Taipei left KLIA in the afternoon. Having not flown in an airlines other than MAS for 12 years made me skeptical of the quality of service and plane maintenance. My worries were for naught as I found the aircraft to be new with comfortable seats.

It was a five-hour flight so I opted to watch one of the longer movies available - Australia. Watching it made me miss the Australian accent I've been listening to for the past five years. Having Googled China Airlines' history, I began to worry about the landing of our flight (their record has several big accidents that led to everyone on-board the plane to have perished in crash-lands).Yikes! Again, I was relieved when the plane reached solid ground with ease.

By the time we managed to clear immigration, our local tour leader, a Mr. Anthony Ku was waiting for us in arrivals. As we stepped out of the terminal, I was confused - there was a layer of something in the air. Was it mist or was it haze?

Now, Mr. Ku is an experienced tour leader, with 15 years under his belt. Before this, he worked in at a television station, which meant that he is well-connected with all that happens around him, from politics to entertainment gossip. He also explained to us how the expiry date of foodstuff is labeled: the present year minus 1911. So if we see something like best before 1998, do not fret, it's still edible. Haha..

The tour manager from Reliance, Alicia, on the other hand, was a young girl who hails from JB. Believe it or not, she is younger than I am by three years.

After the hour-long bus ride, we arrived at Taipei Riverview Hotel.


I checked into room 1123, put my luggage down and off I went again. My first night in Taiwan must not be spent in my hotel room doing nothing! First stop: Ximending!



Ximending reminded me of Petaling Street, just a cleaner and more happening version of it.



There certainly were bigger crowds, more colour and sound, more 'professional buskers' and more junctions for you to turn off! Gosh!

My first try of the trip: bitter gourd juice with honey.



Verdict: not too bad, surprisingly! Alicia tried too but she could not overcome her phobia of bitterness...

We also tried the famous meesua down a different lane.



Called Ah-Chyung Mien Sien, the queue was long and there were many people standing around the shop tucking in the delicious bowlful.


Some other things we tried was something that looked like roti canai, but much fatter and not to mention fattening.



It comes with all sorts of additional flavours and the vendors have a tough time trying to balance their selling and running away from enforcement officers. Life is tough, eh?

And, there was this:


Easyway!

We were very impressed with the small things they do to help Mother Nature. Something like this...


... could help with lots. They seriously do re-collect everything, re-sort them and re-cycle! Incredibly good impression of their recycling campaign.

After checking out the shops around Ximending, we decided to call it a night and headed back for the hotel, which was just down the road. We needed our rest. Our day was to start at 6:30a.m. the next day...

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