Taipei

Trip Start Sep 21, 2007
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44
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Trip End Apr 10, 2009


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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hi there!
 
I am in Taipei, in Taiwan right now. The last time that I wrote an entry I was still in China (the other China), so I'll start from there.
 
From Yangshuo we both went separate ways to Hong Kong. I completed my trip from Amsterdam to Hong Kong by train and about 10 minutes after I arrived in Kowloon, I was reunited with Inger. We checked in in a hotel in the infamous Chungking Mansion. Relatively cheap and very central, and those are pretty much the only positive points. Well, maybe add "the experience". We immediately went sightseeing. We walked to the Kowloon harbour front to see the Hong Kong City skyline, which is - in my humble opinion - the most impressive in the world. Too bad it was rather hazy. Then we hopped on the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island, "walked" on the longest combination of escalators in the world (800 m) and via the Zoological and Botanical Gardens arrived at the Lower Peak Tram Terminus, from where we took this steep tram to near the top of Victoria Peak, from where we would normally have a great view of Hong Kong and beyond. "Normally" that is: we couldn't see more than e few meters ahead of us, because of the thick rain clouds moving in. After that we went back to our hotel.
 
The next day we walked around Hong Kong City for a bit more and amongst other things, travelled on the doubledecker trams, went to the 43rd floor of the Bank of China Building, did a harbour cruise and best of all, saw the Symphony of Lights. This last thing is a very impressive light show where mainly buildings from Hong Kong City (and a few from Kowloon) respond to music with the lights and lasers on these buildings. You have to see it to believe it! I was really impressed.
 
The last day Inger and I were together we went early to Lantau Island, where the airport is situated. Inger dropped her backpack off at the airport and we took the bus to the Tian Tan Buddha, reputedly the largest bronze outdoor sitting Buddha in the world - well, I have seen more of these, but this one was quite large indeed. Too bad it rained the whole time. Back at the airport we were waiting for Ronald, a friend of mine who came over to visit me for a week. Suddenly we heard young girls screaming: a Chinese boy band had just arrived! After Ronald arrived we had something to eat together and soon after that, Inger got her stuff and checked in for her flight to Perth. After saying goodbye, Ronald and I took the bus to Kowloon. Here we walked around for a bit, had a beer and then went to sleep.
 
The first full day with Ronald we did some sightseeing of Hong Kong, mostly sight I had already see. The weather on top of the Upper Peak Tram Terminus was much better though, so I could make some great pictures. We also went to the fishing village Aberdeen. Village is what I expected, an enormous suburb is what we saw. After that we were just in time to see the Symphony of Lights for a second time (didn't mind that at all).
 
The day after we slept in a bit too much, but we still continued with our initial plan to go to Macau. So we took a ferry to Macau at 13h30 and arrived at around 3 o'clock. In Macau we actually had some blue sky: hadn't seen that in a while! I had been in Macua before and recognized quite a few things. They also changed a few things and with that I mean they've built a lot more casinos here, including the largest in the world: The Venetian (opened a few months ago). This enormous building complex is a larger copy of its Las Vegas counterpart. It has very long indoor canals but the most impressive was its casino floor, which measured (we guessed) about 200 meters by 200 meters. After that we walked around the old town casinos for a while and then took the ferry back to Macau.
 
The day after Macau we flew to Taiwan and went to Taipei, the city where I am still today. The weather over here is temperature wise not too bad (20-25 degrees), but is rather wet here (it rained about 75% of the time so far - although today only about 25%). Taipei is a very relaxed city with a lot of indoor shopping malls with fabulous food courts - great when it's raining that much. Amongst them is the shopping mall under Taipei 101, the world's tallest building: 508 meters high, 101 floors, and a lot more of these records (although a yet unfinished building in Dubai is supposed to be taller right now). We also saw a free outdoor concert the first evening and amongst the artists was Dutch Goos Meeuwse... (and also a very spectacular acrobatic show).
 
Ronald left again yesterday, so I am all by myself from yesterday afternoon. But I think I'll manage... ;-)
 
Anyway, right now I have seen pretty much all the sights in Taipei and will probably do some sights around Taipei in the next few days.
 
Bye bye for now,
Michel.
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