21 January 2011 – Taipei Taiwan
Left Shanghai early this afternoon, and headed to Taipei Taiwan. Upon arriving I was glad to see that my luggage streak hadn’t been broken yet. You see, each time I’ve arrived in a new city, and have gone to retrieve my luggage, I am inevitably close to being the last man standing waiting for my bags. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was incapable of leaving Chicago for a 3.5 week trip to Asia with less than two pieces of checked luggage. In total, I’m traveling with 4 bags. One large suitcase, one good size gym/duffel bag, my laptop backpack, and a smallish camera bag where I’m carrying my Nikon and the Flip Video camera I brought with me. So, I have to check bags, which means I have to retrieve bags, and for some reason, all of the airlines I’ve flown on so far feel compelled to hold my luggage until everyone else gets theirs.
My current accommodations in Taipei are probably the oldest hotel I’ve stayed in so far. The furniture looks like something that came out of the 60s, and there’s even a full size deep TV in the sleeping area. The sitting area of the room does have a flat screen on the wall, but even that looks first generation. I’m really not complaining. The room is clean, there doesn’t seem to be anything foreign crawling along the baseboards, and the bed looks comfortable. What else can a guy ask for?
So… My host and IT Colleague in Shanghai, Brant Li, was kind enough to take time last night away from his family, and took me out to dinner, and some night time sightseeing. It’s important to note that in Shanghai last night, the temp was just below freezing. I of course didn’t pack clothes for freezing weather, since I was under the impression that the coldest temps I would see might be in the low 40s. (Silly me) But I digress… So Brant took me to an area that was the location of an old Tao Temple. The entire area around that looked like it came out of the movie, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The architecture was absolutely beautiful.
After looking around the temple area, Brant and I had dinner together. He took me to a restaurant in the same area as the temple, and made a point of ordering food that was very Shanghai centric. Brant had met me, and accompanied me since I arrived in Guangzhou from Hong Kong. We had been going to lunch and dinner together for a couple of days, and were always with other folks from different regions. Consequently we ordered various regional type foods. This was Brant’s opportunity to educate me in Shanghai culture, architecture, and cuisine. All are extremely interesting, and as to the food, very good.
After dinner, we walked over the river front to an area of town called The Bund.
Words can’t do justice to the grandeur of the night time view of The Bund. The buildings are all strategically lit up to make them all look spectacular. Of course, me being me, I took lots of pictures and you can view them here. (Warning; this is an accumulation of my entire trip, so it starts with pictures from Hong Kong, and works its way to Shanghai. If you just want to see the Shanghai photos, I would suggest viewing the gallery from the end and move backwards.)
I am now trying to prepare to start a weekend in Taipei. Not sure yet what I’m going to go see, but according to a pamphlet I picked up at the front desk, there is apparently plenty to go see. I’ll report after the weekend, and tell you folks what I wound up seeing.