Day 98 Taipei 101

We all slept like logs after a busy day travelling the day before from HK to Taiwan. The hotel breakfast was a simple affair of Western toast or Asian congee. Harris enjoyed the cooked corn cobs and the rest of us jam on toast. I don’t mind congee (rice porridge) but I’m not up to adding all the extras like pickled cabbage, toasted peanuts and chilli sauce!
We headed to the Ximen train station just 500 metres from our hotel. After some initial confusion we invested in four ‘Taipei Pass 5 Day Pass’ for NT$700 each. The pass offers unlimited bus and train travel within the Taipei MRT system. With map in hand we headed off to the station to get us to Taipei 101 – the 2nd tallest building in the world! We didn’t know at the time how lucky we were to choose this day to go up the building – the rest of our time in Taiwan we would don raincoats and enjoy cloud and fog. It is the rainy season after all.
Taipei 101 is impossible to miss as there really is no other competition in Taipei in the way of very tall buildings – there are very little other skyscrapers in the city due to the threat of earthquakes and typhoons. The building resembles ‘bamboo’ in its design and boasts the world’s fastest elevator taking just 37 seconds to scale 88 floors. We enjoyed a decent view from the top with a bit of cloud, fog and smog. The kids enjoyed the free headsets that tell you a little about what you see at each numbered station. The most exciting thing for them was the ‘damper’. If you are Australian you immediately think of the flour dough bread we bake over a campfire and eat with golden syrup – well it wasn’t that. The damper is the huge ball mechanism that maintains the building’s stability in the event of an earthquake or typhoon. With 400 earthquakes in the area every year we are glad it was there.
We found lunch in the food court in the basement of the 101 building and then enjoyed Starbucks – not just for the coffee but because we finally worked out how to access the internet. Taipei has free wifi at different locations around the city but for us with foreign gadgets we had to purchase a special card to access the internet. Starbucks and 7-Eleven are places at which you can purchase these cards; scratch off the code and enter into the system – voila, internet access. We paid NTD $100 ($3.30 AUS) for 24 hours access. As it had started to rain outside we stayed in the mall and used the time to update the website and email and check out the huge bookstore with a large English book section. Just for interest wifi is officially called ‘Wifly’!
The rain had settled enough to leave the 101 building so we headed back to the station and back to our hotel. We went to the same little restaurant for another cheap dinner and settled back into the hotel room to watch a movie and get an early night.

Traditional Taiwanese food - boiled green vegetables, turkey with rice, bamboo shoots, egg, pork with rice.


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