The Taiwanese Lincoln Monument...almost!

Trip Start May 05, 2011
Trip End Aug 09, 2011

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Where I stayed
JV's Hostel

Flag of Taiwan  , Taipei,
Saturday, August 6, 2011

Today, we started our last few days in Taipei. Time to finish seeing the big attractions of the city today. First stop, Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall. Just off the metro line, we grabbed a couple of drinks at Come-Buy Tea and jumped on the metro. We transferred a few times and exited right into the memorial area. Very convenient! The memorial hall is presented with a massive gate to the front of CKS and twin buildings on both sides of it. The latter two buildings were the National Concert Hall and the National Theater Hall. They were styled like Chinese (or Taiwanese)-type buildings and basically identical to each other. They were grand nonetheless.
In the center, we found the actual Memorial Hall for CKS. Up one hundred steps and we had reached our destination. Why was there such a big crowd here now? We looked at the time. Oh yes, we made it on the hour for the guard changing ceremony. Lucky us, it was happening right when we got there. The process was rather lengthy and there was a lot of synchronized gun twirling involved. The ceremony finished up and the crowd dispersed. We quickly took a few photos of the man himself and it sort of reminded us of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
Next stop, Ximending shopping district. Once we arrived, we noticed the huge crowd of young people buying up the latest Japanese and Korean styles. They call this area the Shibuya of Taipei. Well, there was a few video advertisements and tons of people scrambling about the busy shopping area, so I guess so. The area is the largest pedestrian shopping area in Taiwan, so there is no crazy intersection like the one in Shibuya.
Also of note, there was actually a fair amount of performers in the general area and they changed throughout the evening and afternoon. We saw a guy creating great paintings using spray paint and another man was doing magic tricks. A young woman near the metro exit was jamming on the drums, but had a MP3 playing along with her (including vocals). We wandered around this large shopping district and weaved in and out of the shops. We even found an Animate, a Japanese store dedicated to anime (and we spent almost an hour here alone).
After shopping for several hours, we headed to the Shida Night Market, known for its younger crowd and vibe since it is near a large Taiwan University. It was nearing 2300, so some of the stores were closing down and it left us with a feeling of "let's just get out of here". We headed back to our place and snacked on some market food there. The usual stuff in Taiwan, but good nonetheless. To bed a little early tonight then? Well, early by Taiwanese standards, as it's almost 0130. Tomorrow, we're off to see the National Palace Museum and explore more markets. 
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