Wufenpu, Raohe Night Market & Taipei 101

Trip Start May 07, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2009

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday was never a good day for sightseeing as they would be crowds comprising mainly of locals out on their weekend haunts, so this day was planned for shopping instead. Due to the drinking session at DS Music Restaurant the previous night, we woke up pretty late in the morning. Breakfast time was over when we stepped into the small dining area of Taipei Traveler Hostel at 11am, but we still helped ourselves to the bread and coffee. There were also other guests who woke up later than us. We noted the dark clouds hovering in the near distance through the hostel's windows.

At the ground floor of Shin Kong building, a little stage was being constructed. We knew that there were always mini-concerts in Ximending (西门町) during the weekends but never expected one to be held here. The stage was for Taiwanese singer Pan Weibo (潘玮柏) and the concert would start at around 1.30pm. With about 1.5 hours to spare, we went for some light shopping in the vicinity of Taipei Main Station and had lunch in one of the underground shopping streets. I had beef noodle again!

Around 1pm, we were back in front of the stage and waited for the singer to come. Not that we were his fans but it was a Taiwanese event. It was something worth documenting in my Taiwan travel blog, even though I would prefer a female singer's concert. We waited for Pan Weibo to turn up, experienced the atmosphere of his fans cheering for him and stayed for two of his songs before disappearing into Taipei Main Station - one of its exit was just next to the stage.

We took the metro train to Ximending where we walked around, searching for things of interest. There was a movie street (电影街) in Ximending with many new movies on show, some were English movies that were translated to Mandarin. We tried searching for the Ximending branch of the Modern Toilet Restaurant but to no avail and had to give up after an hour - we did not have whole day for Ximending. There was nothing of much interest - just another shopping street that was not any different from Singapore's Orchard Road - and we headed for the Ximen Art House (西门红楼) just across the road from Ximending Station (西门町站). Except for some exhibits and shops, there was not much to see in the art house. In the compound next to the Art House were make-shift stalls selling art pieces that were the creativities of some youngsters. We took some photos and left.

Next stop was Wufenpu (五分铺), near Houshanpi Station (后山埤站), which was a shopping street for cheap retail clothings. It was quite a big place with many shops selling all sort of clothings. Many young Taiwanese and tourists would come here to hunt for the latest, inexpensive fashions. We shopped around for a while and took several photos - Wufenpu had more opportunities for good photo-taking than Ximending. Mark bought a shirt while I took fancy to nothing. At one side of Wufenpu was a short stretch of road with many food stalls, we went into a dessert shop and ordered some cold dessert. After a short rest, we continued to look around. The cosplay shop that we were looking for was nowhere in sight.

At 6pm, we left Wufenpu and cut through Songshan Train Station (松山火车站) to Raohe Night Market (饶河夜市), which was within walking distance. The very first stall near one end of the street sold pepper pie (胡椒饼) but there was a long queue. We decided to skip it for the time being and walked down the night market, looking for more food options. We found a couple of stalls selling mutton soup and walked into one of them and ordered a bowl each. Though we had been looking around for mutton hotpot (羊肉炉), the mutton soup quenched our desires for the moment. We also had some other light food stuffs before going back to the pepper pie stall. 

There was still a long queue but this time we decided to go for it. Mark volunteered to queue while I took photos nearby. He bought two pies after 30 minutes and we strolled slowly towards Houshanpi Station, attempting to finish the pies before boarding the metro train. The filling was very hot! It was peppery minced pork in a crispy carapace after being fried. We could not walk and eat at the same time - the oil was dripping all over the place - and had to find a spot out of way of others and finished the pies before continuing. It was very tasty. I wished I could have another one but I was already quite full and my tongue was scalded by the hot oil on the first bite.

The night was not over yet, we took the metro train to Taipei City Hall Station (市政府站) and walked to Taipei 101 (台北101) instead of taking the free shuttle. We wanted to find a vantage point where we could have a night photograph of the world's tallest completed skyscraper (at that time). After taking a few night shots of Taipei 101, we went into the building and took more photos of the interior. Then, we took the free shuttle bus back to the metro station and back to our hostel. It was only 9pm but we had enough for the day and it did not rain the whole day.
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