Published: August 21st 2009August 20th 2009
Right, today is going to be different. I've had about four hours sleep (the lag is really playing havoc with my body clock) but I wake up full of positivity. I fire a quick email off to Martin asking for some help on getting a phone and then head out. Today I'm going to visit Taipei 101 which at the time of writing is officially the tallest building in the world at 509 metres in height. I've only ever seen it on TV at New Year when they go round world famous landmarks showing the fireworks. The MRT is a doddle. Just one quick change at Taipei Main Station then 6 stops on the blue line to Taipei City Hall and I'm there. I've got the map just in case but there's no missing this one. In my experience some tall buidings really don't appear to be all that once you see them in the flesh so to speak but Taipei 101 doesn't disappoint. It dwarfs everything around it as it towers phallus like over the city. Apparently it's designed to look like a bamboo stalk but I don't really see it. As soon as I get an unobstructed view I
reach for my camera, take aim..... a message pops up. "insufficient space." I'm an idiot, i've left my memory card in my laptop back at Martin's. I'm reliant on the pathetically small internal memory and in any case I've left the sodding cable back in England so I won't be able to upload them for at least 12 bloody months. I even know that it's in the bottom of my chest of drawers because I remember putting it there when I decided not to pack it. I go inside and it's pretty impressive. There are five floors immediately accessible to the public and they read like a Who's Who of designer labels. De Beers, Lagerfeld, Mont Blanc. Every posh brand you can think of wants a piece of 101. It's pricey to head up to the top on the tourist elevator and the business elevator (for people who actually work in the building) is rigorously policed. I reckon that Melissa will probably want to go up when she arrives so I leave it for another day. I'm still furious with myself about the memory card but figure that I can probably buy one nearby given that I'm in Taiwan, the
home of "Made in Taiwan" and they must have everything here. Anyway i've noticed that it seems to take at least an hour to rectify any stupid mistakes I've made since I've arrived and this occasion is only different in that it takes 2 hours for me to resolve it. A stones throw from Taipei 101 is the Mitsukoshi department store which is made up of a dozen or so vast buildings each of which is a department store in its own right. On any other day I'd have had a leisurely browse but instead hurry around searching for somewhere that sells electronics. To cut a long story short I eventually get one but i've lost a great deal of positivity. I snap a few of Taipei 101 and as I walk away I spot a Sony Shop slap bang opposite it which surprisingly enough stocks Sony memory cards. After a swift count to ten I head back into Mitsukoshi head down to the Food Court in the basement to grab lunch. It's about 5 p.m at this point and I am ravenous. Luckily for me they have plastic models of the food down there so I can just gesture
I got a memory card!
Hot bothered and ratty outside 101.
wearily at it. I get a huge bowl of rice, beef and seaweed with a fried egg on top. It's very nice and the accompanying mushroom and ginger soupl perks me up too. Total cost about 3 quid and I'm stuffed. I head back to Martin's and chill for a bit. Having recovered my energy I decide to make another assault on Jiantan to track down the elusive Grand Hotel. This time there's no stopping me. I take the correct exit and locate the numerous stone steps leading me up to it. I finally get to the top sweating profusely. Even though it's dark it's still 29 C and very humid. The hotel is beautiful. As far as beautiful buildings go it's right up there with the very best and as I fire of some snaps, wishing I had an SLR and not a compaq, i'm feeling pretty pleased with how things are going. I head back towards Jiantan to check out Shilin night market. Shilin night market is a real hotbed of activity. It's full of fairground stalls, street food sellers and handbag vendors. Everyone there is having a good time. I have a quick scoot around before heading
back to Martin's. I'll save it and do it properly when Melissa arrives next week.
There are more photos below