Taiwan - great country - great friends

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October 27th 2013
Published: November 14th 2013
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Once the tallest building in the world, still an awesome sight and a modern marvel of building in a city that can have severe typhoons
Nǐ hǎo!

Hello from Taiwan

I never thought much about visiting Taiwan until one day I was walking around my neighborhood and saw a happy looking guy who looked like a tourist and was taking photographs of anything interesting that he could see. I said "hello, how are you?". He said "Hello, my name is Max and I just arrived from Taiwan yesterday". We chatted and to cut a long story short Max and I have become very good friends. Max was on a working holiday in Australia for a year with his girlfriend Nikki. Max told me a lot about Taiwan and I started researching about his country and decided to do a two week tour as part of my extended holiday to Asia from October to January 2014.

It has turned out to be a great decision and I booked a five day tour around Taiwan and also caught the fast train for a one day excursion to Tainan the old capital of Taiwan where Max was staying with his family. My impression of Taiwan is a high tech, modern society with very friendly people. Other places that I visit are a bit crazy sometimes. Taiwanese people were very nice, patient, polite and they drive vehicles very carefully. I felt very safe and comfortable in Taiwan. My Taiwanese friends looked after me like I was part of their family and made me feel very welcome in their country. They were proud of their home and I can see why they love Taiwan so much.

Max and Nikki showed me around Taipei for the first three days after I arrived. Nikki had been back in Taiwan for a few weeks and Max arrived the day after me and considering that Max had been away from his family who live in Tainan for a year it was very considerate of him to stay in Taipei to show me around.

The main places we saw were the Presidential Palace, Taiwan Expo Park and Shilin Night Market. We also caught the MRT to the end of the line at Tamsui which is a sea-side district in northern Taiwan and has a market, fortress and many eateries. Max and Nikki made sure I tried as much local food as possible. In most cases I would never have known what or how to order.

Another friend that I have helped with his English studies over the last few months via the internet and I met for the first time in Taipei also took me for food and drinks with his other friends and to places like the hot springs in the mountains. It was difficult to spend money as my friends wanted to treat me which seems to be the local custom. A nice change from other places I go to but I did my best to pay for some meals and drinks. The Taiwan beer is very good and the food varies slightly in taste in each part of the country with the local cuisine.

Most of my stories of this visit are shown in the photos. Taiwan is a wonderful and beautiful country. I will be back soon in the new year. There will be more blog entries to cover the five day tour and my last days for this trip.

There are 50 photos. Click each photo if you want a larger view.

Additional photos below
Photos: 50, Displayed: 24


Ximen Red HouseXimen Red House
Ximen Red House

Art Centre - Weekend Market - Live music on Sunday (mostly heavy metal which I enjoyed from many local bands - excellent)
Ximen near Exit 6 - MRTXimen near Exit 6 - MRT
Ximen near Exit 6 - MRT

Major nightlife area with shops, markets, restaurants, cinema - street buskers - the place to be seen
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial HallThe Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

The soldier stands still for about 50 minutes
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial HallThe Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Changing the guard takes place on the hour - a must see when you are visiting Taipei - easy to get to on the MRT train system
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial HallThe Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Beautiful place to visit and witness the changing of the guard
Expo ParkExpo Park
Expo Park

Not the best time of year to see floral displays but some interesting sites which cover a huge area with many exhibition buildings to visit.
Expo ParkExpo Park
Expo Park

Cactus - make sure you see this exhibit
Expo Park Music BoxExpo Park Music Box
Expo Park Music Box

Computer music box with tunes changing with each season

25th November 2013

Hi mate
Hi Leon got your blog from Roman looks like your having a great time very funny photos of you at Expo Park food looks good as well all good here won the cricket & golf Port looks like it has picked a couple of good kids in the draft.Harris family off to NSW for holiday so just 4 of us on next 2 Sundays keep well & be safe Ginge
11th December 2013

Hello Ginge
Thanks, it has been a great trip so far and more to look forward too before I return to Australia. Relaxing in Thailand now for a week or so and I will be going back to Taiwan for Xmas and New Year as I have made some good friends there. I hope all is well for you and keep having fun at the Baranski Social Club.

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