2011 Taiwan Taipei 4 Taiwan

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(1) The hotel where I stayed

I was recommended another large hotel in the business district. Instead, I found this hotel; it was half the price the other hotel asked. I was a bit intimidated by a room photo (like the following):
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But I decided to pick this hotel anyway because of the price and because of its proximity to a subway station, Ximen Station (西門站).

Well, it was quite an interesting experience as the hotel was not something I would prefer to stay. The hotel was definitely targeting a much younger generation (likes hip decoration and cannot afford a high price). Although I felt a bit awkward sleeping in such a room but I think I made a right choice. Because …

  • in the middle of busy shopping district, Ximending (西門町)
  • a subway station was a block from the hotel
  • Clean room / modern amenities
  • Wifi available in each floor
  • Free Coffee/Espresso (from real coffee beans)
  • Free two bottled water per night (you need them because of high temperature)
  • Free Washer/Dryer/Detergent
  • English speaking friendly receptionists (not all of them can speak English)
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(2) Miniatures museum

I was hoping to see traditional Chinese miniature works. The works they displayed were not quite aligned with my expectation. Nonetheless, some of the works displayed were quite impressive. Cameras were allowed in the museum.
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(3) Xin Beitou Hot spring

It was mentioned by multiple people before my trip that there was a public Hot Spring I could try while I was in Taipei as it could be reached by subway.
Yes, it was. There was a dedicated subway branch just to get to Xin Beitou from Beitou (only one-station span, no stations between). There were many hot spring hotels and one famous public hot spring bath, which I tried.
By paying 40NTD (approx $1.50), you can soak into those hot steaming bathtubs. The water temperatures of the bathtubs varied as the one at the top was the hottest (scalding hot) and the temperature at the bottom bathtub was quite mild. There were two bathtubs with cold water, which I felt freezing cold.
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Most people enjoying this public hot spring (its patrons) were old folks, like me. I saw one or two young ladies but they were tightly guarded by accompanying young gentlemen.
Young ladies don't like hot spring? No, I don't think so. Nearby hot spring hotels offer private hot spring session (example: 1250NTD (approx $42) / 2 people for an hour). A coupe or family can enjoy hot spring experience in an intimate setting.
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Beitou Geothermal Valley
I couldn't see anything except steam rising up from the hot spring lake.
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Beitou Hot Spring Museum
I visited many museums while I was in Taiwan. But this was definitely different from other ordinary museums. Beitou hot spring was developed to be a hot spring resort by the occupying Japanese Army, which controlled the island for 50 years. The museum building was originally built for Taiwan's first public bath (by Japanese occupying force).

There was a favorable nostalgic sentiment toward Japanese culture despite the fact that the Japanese Army brutally suppressed the opposition in Taiwan and there were comfort women for Japanese soldiers. It was a mystery to me and it still remains as a mystery. My current hypothesis is that KMT (led by Chiang Kai-shek) so brutally suppressed the people in Taiwan and exacerbated the tension between the people already in Taiwan and the people who evacuated from the mainland. Therefore, suppressed people in Taiwan recalled and emphasized good things Japanese Army did (yes, they did many good things), (and overlooked bad things they did).
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(4) [Palace Museum]

It has massive collection of Chinese treasures that Chiang Kai-shek brought from the mainland. As the collection was massive, only 1% of the whole collection was displayed at a given time. Although the items displayed in the museum deserved to be called "treasure", I was quite annoyed by tour groups storming each exhibits continuously. They were coming to the museum by a tour bus and visiting displayed items within a short period (accompanied by a guide). Such tour was coming to the museum one after another …
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(5) OWS (Occupy Wall Street) Demonstration

While I was wandering around the Taipei 101, I have witnessed a demonstration (later I realized it was an OWS demonstration). At first I didn't realize that it was a demonstration as I couldn't understand what a leader of the demonstration was saying. It was a quite a peaceful demonstration and maybe there were more photographers and spectators than the demonstration participants.
The banner said "Against M-type society". I asked several people about what "M-type society" means. Their answer was that it probably meant a society in which the income distribution was "M" shaped (many in low income and many in high income but not many in middle-class).
Taipei became quite an international city (like Tokyo) so many foreigners were living there. You can see some demonstration participants were foreigners.
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(6) The last night in Taiwan

This is the photo I picked from the photos I took in the last night in Taiwan. The night street was crowded when I arrived and the street was still crowded when I left.
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