Travelogue – Taiwan- Part 2
When I arrived in Taiwan, I was informed of the Taipei Computer Applications Show held at the Taipei World Trade Center. Upon leaving the comforts of the Champion Hotel, I went down a few blocks down a few streets to enjoy the “comforts” of Taiwanese public transportation in the form of Taipei Metro, its subway train system. Fuzhong lies in the Bannen Line, which can say is the main line for the service. The Bannen Line bookends between Yongning and Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center. Fuzhong lies closer to Yongning.
The wait time between trains is usually two minutes. My destination took me to almost the other end of the line at Taipei City Hall. This main route leads to four other trains and is often busy. The two busiest stops I found in my journey were often at Taipei Main Station and Zhongxiao Fuxing, which you can take connecting trains to some of the most popular destinations like Danshui or the Taipei Zoo.
When I got off at Taipei City Hall stop, you’ll find that each exit is its own shopping mecca. Turn one way and you’ll find the Xinyi Shopping District where you’ll find a wide range of entertainment from the high-end department stores, a movie theater and its heavily western-influenced byproducts. The other end, you’ll see a connecting shopping mall, which is the Eslite Bookstore spanning seven floors, and the Taipei Main Bus Station.
I wadded through the Eslite area food court emerging to surface in front of Taipei City Hall. Following the signs, I walked through inside the three-part building to emerge at the foot of Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world. Adjacent to it is the Taiwan World Trade Center main building since the center boasts three exhibition halls.
Upon entry, a venerable of who’s who of electronic companies from Sony to LG showcased their line of products for the techphiles to feast their eyes on. Booth employees were out in force handing out brochures while the booth models made their announcements. The booth models played hosts dancing, demonstrating the companies’ latest products, threw out promotional materials and even posed for the cameras. The crowds were difficult to navigate through as seas of people constantly propagated the show floor.
After exploring the show, I decided to head back for the day. Navigating around the streets of Taipei, there’s a very nonchalant attitude to moving through traffic. Anybody who’s anybody owns a scooter. Scooters move and weave around traffic as they please stopping only for traffic signals and pedestrians. Space is allotted for scooters at the front of the stop light in a white rectangular box. Sidewalks, when present, are about half the size of American ones and are usually cluttered with scooters parked. Open space is few and far between especially in a country as compact as the island of Taiwan.
I have seen many families of three travel on scooters with the youngest up front while the main operator sits in the middle. Of course, when riding on scooters, everyone onboard must wear a crash helmet. The streets, being as tight as they are, are certainly take to some adjusting if you’re not used to the lack of width in the streets. There is going to be a lot of squeezing in and around the area in most of the average roads. The only real space you’re going to see are on the bigger streets and highways.
Next time, shopping, the movie experience and some sightseeing notes.