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2018 Asian tour  
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   Updated 2nd December 2018
 
Taiwan and Hong Kong 

Bullet train from Taipei to Tainan

Zipping along at 300km/hr

Typical sidewalk. Completely useless for walking on. Locals turn them into an extension of the garden or parking lot.

Lara croft type Banyan trees growing at the warehouses in Anping district in Tainan. The Anping port and warehouse dates back to 1865 with British Tait &Co., Elles & Co., Boyd & Co., US Wright & Co., and Germany's Mannich & Co. trading in the area at that time.

 

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Serious kiting in Anping, Tainan

Lantern festival in Tainan

5 Concubine temple

Confucius temple

Cycling in Anping district Tainan

Matsu temple Anping, god of education where the girl left her offering of thanks after success in her exams.

Lots of Chinese temples in Tainan and shop next door selling money to burn as offerings.

Chimei museum, Tainan

A selection of sea-food on the outskirts of Taipei

And seafood also in dried version.

Variety of shellfish for sale at the wet market.

Sun setting in Tainan across the oyster-farms

Visiting a Gold Mine outside Taipei

Cherry blossoms in bloom at the gold mine museum

Yehliu Park about an hour drive northeast of Taipei. A very popular place with interesting rock formations

This one called "the Queen"

Sunset leaving jifeng back to Taipei

 

Letting off rice-paper balloons with wishes written on them.

Taipei streets

Taipei 101. The tallest building in the world from 2004 when it was built until Burgh Khalifa in Dubai was completed. Stands at 509.2mand was the first building over half a kilometer.

660 tonne Damper Ball on top of Taipei 101 to enable the building to withstand earthquakes and Typhoons up to 60 m/s wind

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"Crap" food at the Modern Toilet Restaurant.

 

Central Hong Kong as seen from Victoria Peak

Still using bamboo as scaffolding

From the hike along the Wilson trail. A rather cold, foggy and windy day, but still a nice outing taking sus from the middle of HK Island down to Stanley harbor.

Met up with Tracy Mosness, our neighbor from Norway, at the Ned Kelly pub.

 

 

 

Signs

 

We had a long weekend in connection with International Womens day (8th March), a week vacation and we decided to go to Hong Kong and Taiwan, also known as Formosa and officially as Republic Of China (ROC).

We flew to Taipei via Hong Kong and straight on the bullet train to Tainan. The old Capital of Taiwan established by the Dutch in 1624 and remained the capital of Taiwan until 1895 when the Japanese won the war against China and occupied the island until they lost Taiwan to China after the second World War in 1945. Lots of influences from these various time periods and overall an interesting city.

First thing the next morning as the weather was unpredictabel our first stop was the National History Museum of Taiwan History. It was the perfect place to begin and really cemented the history of the traders and occupations through the timeline. Our lunch was at the Famous Peddler's Noodle house where we tried local noodles, fried shrimp rolls and yummy homemade tofu pudding. One traveler was delighted the other not so much!

Fort Provincia(Chihkan Tower) originally built by the Dutch in 1653 using red bricks and mortar made from glutinous rice, ground oyster shells, sugar and water, with thick walls and arches. There are many colourful old temples in honour of different deities housing a multitudes of deities. The Matsu, the patroness of the sea and goddess of mercy, temple in Tainan we first visited was the first official one built. There are about 400 Matsu temples in Taiwan. We walked to various areas, Koxinga's shrine, Confucius' temple, 5 Concubine temple, Dong cai shi temple and more.

Our AirBnB came with bicycles so we took the advantage on the second day to ride around the Anping district, the oldest part of the city. We were able to lock the bikes and see the Anping Fort (1624), Anping Tree House (1865) with it's abundance of grown over banyan trees, the Golden Castle (1876)-Taiwan's first western style fortress as well as another Matsu temple. Here we met a chatty local who had traveled to Canada. His daughter was bringing offering as she had prayed for good results in her exams the week before. Cycling around the area gave us the opportunity to appreciate everyday life and cover a lot of ground. We even cycled to watch the sun set on the beach and were there at the end of the lantern festival!

After 3 days in Tainan and a visit to the new Chimei Museum, having a special Rodin gallery, we took the train back to Taipei to explore the capital. It is a very modern city with well functioning infrastructure, nice restaurants and interesting history from newer times under Chinese rule, and as an independent nation after Chiang Kai-shek lost the Chinese war to Mao in 1949 taking refuge on the island of Taiwan and claimed Taipei as the Capital of China.

Taiwan represented all of China in United nations until 1972 when Mainland China (i.e. communist People Republic of China from Beijing) got the seat at UN and Taiwan lost theirs. Only 17 nations recognize Taiwan as an independent country and Taiwan is part of PRC as per Beijing's "One China Policy" accepted by many countries today.

We ventured to the North East coast on a trip organized by Cherry and Yura, our Taiwanese friends in Moscow. The highlight of the whole trip with a visit to Yeliu Park,Gold mine and Gold-rush museum, waterfall and Jufeng old street followed by Pingxi to release lanterns into the sky(flying latern - see pictures) and finishing off at Taipei's Bagua restaurant for a night panoramic view over Tapiei and local cuisine. 

Walking around the Datong district brought back memories of Singapore with all the dried goods, food packaging and old shophouses. We found a nice wine bar, Le Zinc Cafe and Bar, and HAD to have a bottle of wine late afternoon. Wine is not on many menus and many food places do not even serve beer. For one of us Taiwan was such a culinary experience with eel noodles, tofu pudding, noodle bowls and daily bubble tea! SO MUCH enjoyed by one and not so much by the other!

We always felt safe and protected in Taiwan as there are many warning/cautionary signs strewn around the city: walking line, mind the platform gap, no loud speaking, no running, please do not climb up, caution glass, do not stay in the doorway, no food, no pets, no smoking, No Smoking: violators will be fine!, Notice: do not walk dogs, play balls and remote control airplanes to maintain the safety of the square. thanks for your cooperation; photography prohibited, no climbing and no trespassing, watch your step, prohibited from entering, no graffiti, no touching, watch your steps on the stairs; The toilet is easy to block, please do not throw toilet paper in the toilet; no standing on the toilet seat; don't cross the line please;please keep off the grass, use sidewalks; please fasten your seat belt properly; on escalators: Hold the handrail and luggage, stand firm, mind your long skirts and shoelaces, ride safely; coming off the escalator: No lingering! Danger! Deep water, please don't sit or step on the windows, at crosswalk: Look right, please line up for photos; please do not carve and damage; Danger! Beware of large waves!, Dangerous! Do not Cross. We seemed to notice all signs after having lived in Moscow where these are almost non existent.

Following Taiwan we headed to Hong Kong to visit good friends Lena and Håkan, our Swedish friends we know from their Moscow stay.

Both of us had been to Hong Kong in the late 80's early 90's so it was interesting to see the city and get back to see standard tourist places: Victoria Peak, Star Ferry, Stanley Market, as well as see Lena's local *wet market*- again memories of living in Asia! Lena and Håkan knew the best part of the hiking trail going from about the middle of Hong Kong island and down to Stanley Bay. We shared great meals, went to lovley scenic spots, walking the streets and of course a trip to Ned Kelly's last Stand Bar!! A very enjoyable trip indeed.

 

Best regards,

Lynne and Atle