Taoyuan and Taipei

Taipei 101-Tower

I landed in Taoyuan (that is where the airport is located) about 6 pm, it was already dark. I bought myself an “Easycard” (valid on a large number of public transportation means all over Taiwan) charged with 200 TWD. I took the train 2 stops (25 TWD = less than 1 USD) and walked to my hotel, directed by google maps. The shortest way was through a shopping center called “Gloria Outlets”.
I have NEVER seen a mall that big! It seems like an entire city spread out over several square miles (I might be exaggerating, though). There are hundreds of name brand stores, long lines forming in font of several of them. Visiting shopping malls appears to be a favorite family weekend leisure. (The place turned out to be even more crowded next day, which was a Sunday).
I stopped at a 7-Eleven and did not believe my eyes: They actually served Weizenbeer from the tap! Of course I needed to test it. It passed.

My 7-Eleven-Weizen. DELICIOUS!
In this Outlet Center they have a NYC-section …
… and a London one, where the good old red phone booth survives!

Next day I took the HSR (High Speed Railway) to Taipei. 20 minutes, 160 TWD.
The train station in Taipei is underground and huge. It took me about 15 minutes to find my way out into the fresh air. I was hoping to find some place to sit down and enjoy a morning coffee. But I found only high office buildings, streets, cars …. very few people rushing – it was Sunday, so I guess – to the next shopping center. No store, no café. Seems like all the life here takes place underground or at least indoors.
I decided to take the MRT (metro) to the Chiang Kai-shek memorial.

The Memorial Hall at the end of the “Democracy Square”
To the left of the sqare the “National Concert Hall”
To the right the “National Theater”
Later I also visited “Taiwan 101 Tower” which houses a large shopping mall with the most crowded food court I have ever seen.
Considering the price of about US$ 100 I refrained from getting up to the observation platform.

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