Saturday, August 6, 2011

[SHILIN] Hawker Food and Plenty of Clothes

After meeting Chiang Kai Shek, I thought it would be fun to get lost in the Taipei MRT. Okay, that was a lame attempt to cover up my stupidity. Anyway, Xiaonanmen is the only stop on that MRT line. From there you either go back to CKS Memorial Hall or to Ximen, both of which connect to the main MRT lines. I went with CKS Memorial and upon arrival there I had to transfer trains to go to Shilin up north, except that I boarded the train going south. Yahoo! I was surprised to see Guting station when the train should be arriving at NTU Hospital station. But the doors already closed, so I calmed down. How far could it be right? It turned out to be quite far. If you have a map of the Taipei subway, see how longer the line connecting Guting and Dingxi is relative to the other stops. That’s how far it was. So even when I immediately transferred trains at Dingxi, the trip that would have only taken around 15 minutes to Shilin became 45 minutes. Yehey me!

I went straight to Chiang Kai Shek’s Shilin residence. It is better to go there by foot than risk getting lost taking the bus. The bus routes are a little tricky and they only come in Traditional Chinese characters. The residence is one big modern palace complete with gardens and gazebos and an amphitheater. The house itself is “hidden” in one corner of the whole area. I don’t know if the National Palace Museum is nearby but I didn’t bother to check. It was late in the afternoon and I was already having an overload of everything Chiang Kai Shek. What happened next was a long walk to the Taipei Astronomy Museum and then walking around the vicinity trying in vain to find the National Palace, which turned out to be on the other side of Taipei. Well, that’s the reason why it wasn’t appearing in any of the few tourist maps.

The day ended at Shilin Night Market. I was really tempted to take a video of the place because it was teeming with people. Instead, all I got was a picture of the entrance. I braved that street because I was looking for a Taiwan souvenir plate that my mother wanted, which I never found at any of the stalls. Most of what was sold there were clothes and street food. Oh, there is a temple halfway through the street! I actually thought at first that it was some sort of store that was made to look like a temple to attract customers. It’s just that it seemed out of place since the area was full of people and various goods. I went inside out of curiosity but immediately went out again because of the strong smell of incense. I found a stall selling those Taiwan Touch Your Heart souvenir shirts so I bought me and my brother one each. As for my mother’s plate, I was able to buy one at the Chinese Handicraft Mart, not in Shilin. Anyway, how to get to the night market? Don’t let the name fool you. The entrance is across the street from the Jiantan MRT station, which is still technically in the district of Shilin. Getting off at Shilin station would require you to walk south, so just alight the MRT at Jiantan.

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