A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Taipei YMCA morning view, tallest building in the world is just visible...

Even better than Korea's 'Kolon Sport' chain of Outdoor Shops!

Lien-ho (?) Temple: Every one of those lights in the revolving columns...

Lien Ho (if that's what its called) roof detail

Longshan Temple

Longshan incense and reflections

Longhshan Temple

Longshan Temple roof detail

Longshan Temple


I am rarely ill, and when I am it is usually short-lived, and today I am basically recovered, though not yet back on full form. I've only ate a breadroll in the last 48 hours, and still don't feel enthusiastic about food, which is a shame as this place looks the best yet on this trip for scoffing, and if all was well I would be grazing my way round the Shilin Night Market later on, as opposed to watching old kung fu films on TV. I had a good day though, tiring, but I felt spiritually uplifted by great art and atmospheric temples, and I do like Taipei in general despite the hideous traffic.

I wandered around the centre this morning (at least part of the wandering was because I wasn't always where I thought I was), visiting a couple of really nice temples. I preferred them to most of the Korean or Japanese ones, these were very atmospheric, busy, rich in every sense, very Chinese. And then in the afternoon I went to the National Palace Museum, which involved using both the subway and buses, both of which worked OK, not bad on my part as I can still only remember the Mandarin for "hallo", "thank you" and several of the numbers.

A bit of historical context is relevant here, the politically educated can skip this. There were essentially two main groups in the Chinese Revolution, and as soon as the revolting was succesful (before even) they started in on each other, and Mao's lot won in the end, as you know. The losers retreated to Taiwan, which is still officially called the Republic of China, but on the way they took an awful lot of cultural art and treasures with them, some of which I saw today. As it happens even the Chinese admit that that was probably a good thing, as so much of those kind of wonders were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Its tragic when you think how so much more amazing Chine could be if that hadn't happened, and how there is no way now any of that can be recovered. Also interestingly, there are a lot of Taiwanese who, reassured by what hasn't happened to Hong Kong when the Brits handed it back to the Chinese, say they don't mind joining back to China. Watch this space.

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