Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Taipei Tales - Part Three

A typical hot and humid Taipei day usually results in pictures like the one below. The culprit - condensation on the camera lens. We spent the morning at the National Palace Museum which houses some of the most priceless pieces of Chinese art in the world. The story of how most of the pieces came to Taiwan is an interesting one.

~Outside the National Palace Museum
Like most buildings in Taipei, the buildings within the National Palace Museum complex have chinese style curved roofs. The Boy and I fell in love with the meat stone, a piece of agate that has been made to resemble a piece of cooked pork down to the layer of fat on top. There is a picture here. Photography was not allowed inside.

~Roof Detail of the National Palace Museum

We stopped by the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial next. Nothing amazing here. It's just a huge pagoda like structure in the middle of the city with lots of open space. Atleast this time we got rid of the moisture on the lens before posing.

~Outside the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial

And yes, the brick work in the courtyard does not align with the center of the gateway structure.

~The gateway to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial

Temples dot the urban cityscape of Taipei. The Taoist temples are especially known for their elaborately carved dark wood pillars and the brightly colored dragon and fish scupltures on the roof tops. The Longshan Temple in Taipei City was no exception.

~Waterfall inside the Longhsan Temple in Wanhua District

~Dragons on the roof top

Worshippers came in, lit their joss sticks in the giant incense burner, said their prayers and then left their offerings of fruit, flowers and cakes on the tables in the courtyard - all the while without removing their shoes. The peace and quiet here, inspite of the hum of chanting over the loudspeaker was in direct contrast to the chaos that I have witnessed in most Hindu temples in India. It might have something to do with the shoes!!

~Central courtyard of the temple

~Monks conducting services inside the temple

The heat finally caught up with us and we decided to head to towards Taipei 101 and airconditioning.

~The facade of Taipei 101

The food court at Taipei 101 was impressive and all the choices looked delectable given the fact that we were running on empty engines by then. There was a McDonalds - predicatbly so and an Indian food counter - quite surprising. We steered clear of both.

~Indian Fans counter at the Taipei 101 food court

We settled for an osyter omlet, fried rice and fish ball soup for the Boy and Congee, bitter mellon and vegetarian pancakes for myself, instead.

~All this food cost us about 6 USD

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