Quick trip to Taipei

Din Tai Fung window

I made a 44 hour trip to Taipei this week: the visit focused on eating, buildings and streets, contemporary art, and botany. The trip started at famous Din Tai Fung, with soup dumplings, hot and sour soup, shrimp and pork dumplings, and pea shoots. The place was mobbed, with many Japanese tourists.

Din Tai Fung soup dumpling

Other food highlights was the Japanese style onsen at Villa 32 in the northern suburbs, with indoor and outdoor hot spring pools and a delicious Italian restaurant. I took the combo public bath and lunch special, which was very relaxing and a chance to see the local upper class in action.

Villa 32 restaurant and onsen

Other culinary treats include beef noodle soup, pork chop noodle soup, Mister Donut (imported from Japan). I was amazed at how international Taiwan is, including my “Norwegian-style” budget chic Hotel Dandy.

Walking around Taipei, it’s striking just how many scooters fill the streets and sidewalks.

Taipei scooter traffic

They also occupy a majority of the sidewalks.

Taipei scooters on sidewalk

Vernacular architecture includes vertical commercial buildings and aging concrete, including this sublime corner building in a wave shape:

Vernacular Taipei architecture

The wonderfully tropical weather was a great change from fall in Tokyo. It also seemed in many places that the jungle would soon re-occupy the city without constant human vigilance.

Jungle reclaims Taipei building

Of course, I also saw and entered some spectacular buildings, including the Spot, formerly the American ambassador’s residence and now an art theater, bookstore and super-chic cafe. Also the 300 year old Longshan temple, full of worshipers, offerings, incense and candles.

Longshan temple in Taipei

And on my way back to the airport, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art and saw its show of young local artists called Super-Generation. The art was fun, as were the friendly art chicken docents. One of whom described how the building was constructed by the Japanese, who were “taking care” of the Taiwanese during the first half of the 20th century. An odd choice of words to describe an occupation.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei

Also on my last day, I strolled through the gorgeous Botanic Garden, which includes many palm trees, and sections based on “idiom plants” and “literary plants.” Lots of older people doing qi gong exercises and school children.

Taipei botanic garden

4 comments

  1. Now that I found out that I’m going to Taipei, my goal is to visit all the places you went to! How cool would that be? ^^

    Did you go for business or fun? What do you do? I still don’t think I know what your job is. You might have told me, but I don’t remember. I decided when I first found this blog that you were a photographer, but that could be totally wrong.

  2. I visited Taipei because my 3 month tourist visa ran out, and my relationship of 13 years gives neither of us residency rights in the other’s country. Now, through my participation in the ceramics studio, I have a one-year visa.

    My job, hmmm, is not something I discuss on this blog to maintain a small amount of anonymity in cyber space. I will send you a link off-site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s