Trip Start May 15, 2008
14Trip End Aug 15, 2008
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We took a van to get into Hong Kong and Liz and I were supposed to be on an earlier flight than Mike. When we got to the airport we found out that the flight was overbooked and they told us to come back in 15 minutes and they should have a seat for us. We were in desperate need of food and we found the fastest food that we could...that wound up being Popeye's Chicken. We dominated two orders of fried chicken and french fries in 10 minutes and then quickly got back to the ticket counter. At that time we were told that we couldn't get on the flight and they would put us on Mikes flight two hours later. Liz said "I think iI want to go throw up so I can eat some decent food"...she didn't actually do that, but we did go to a steak place and Mike and I each ate a steak. We finally got on our flight then got picked up by a car and got into our hotel around 10 PM.
We went to the hotel bar and got our complimentary beer and then went to bed.
The next day we got picked up by Vincet Lee (a tooling engineer from Graco's Taipei office) at 8:30 and we went to the mold sampling house while Liz stayed at the hotel and went shopping at the mall across the street from the hotel. She enjoyed walking around normal looking stores with clothes that she might actually want to buy but everything was extremely expensive. Mike and I got our work done and got back to the hotel around 5 o'clock. Around that time I was to the point of hunger that if I didn't eat something immediately there was going to be a large issue. We found a Thai restaurant in the mall and everything was back to normal with my attitude. After dinner Mike had plans to go play badmitton with the guys from the Taipei office. Liz and I weren't overly interested in going to watch him sweat, so we went to a night market.
The night market consisted of a ton of stores each about the size of a garage that were selling every kind of knock off item you could imagine. They actually had some decent clothes that wound up getting. After being there for about two hours, we got a cab back to the TGI Fridays that was by the hotel and met Mike and another guy from our Taipei office for a drink.
The next day Mike had an extremely early flight and Liz and I made plans to go do some sightseeing around Taipei. Vincent picked us up in the morning and took us to the National Palace Museum
This museum has over 70,000 items that were taken from the Forbidden City and moved to Taiwan. It was cool seeing some of the old tools and weapons they used and they had a lot of other pottery and jade carvings that you can't believe someone was able to produce.
We got done with the museum around noon and got a cab to see the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101. The cab driver asked us if we wanted to stop and get some really good tea and then tried to take us to a jewelry store. We told him we were just interested in getting to Taipei 101.
On our way to the hotel we saw groups of scooters at the front of each red light that looked like scooter gangs. This city is dominated by scooters. This picture shows a small group of these scooters, but we saw other groups that were 3 - 4 times as big.
Whenever we got to the building we spent some time walking through the fancy stores that were so overpriced it was ridiculous. We also walked through the food court right around lunch time and there was not a seat to be found. There were at least 70 food stands in this food court, but we were looking for a sit down type of restaurant. We headed up the 4th floor and went to a place specializing in Shanghai food.
After lunch we went to the top of the building. The elevator ride to the 89th floor only took 30 seconds and it is so smooth that you can stand a nickel on its edge and it won't fall over during the entire ride. When we got to the top floor we got a pair of the headphones that tell you the details of what you are looking at. We walked up to the first window and Liz looked down and said "that's enough of that, it's too scary." Despite the fact that our headphones told us the windows can take an 8 ton direct hit without breaking she stayed a few feet away from the windows for the rest of the tour.
From one side of the building we could see this parking lot that only had scooters in it.
With being such a tall building, they had to design something to counteract the force of the wind from making the building move. We were told that many tall buildings have a stabilization device, but it's not open to the public. This building uses a huge steel ball weighing 20 some tons attached to three cables that will move the opposite way that the building wants to move. This device makes the building completely motionless.
After our time at the building, we got a cab to the Graco Taipei office where my computer was being repaired. Two weeks ago my computer would not start and we wound up having to re-install Windows. They got all of the Graco specific programs installed for me and we spent some time going through the office to meet everyone that I commonly email from back home. They told us at the office that we would pretty much be screwed with getting a van from Hong Kong to Qing Xi at the time we were scheduled to get into Hong Kong. There were luckily no problems with our flight and we wound up getting on the next to last van up into China. The van we got into was low on gas, so he would drive extremely fast for about a mile and then put the car in neutral. We eventually got gas and through customs, Lizs passport hasn't been giving us too many problems lately.
We enjoyed our time in Taipei and found it to be a much cleaner city than most in China. It had a feel of the United States that we miss sometimes and we enjoyed the shopping the most, since that is something that we rarely get to do here in China.
Where I stayed
Grand Victorian Hotel