November 20, 2012

Taiwan 2012 (Day 5, 20 Nov)

Home sweet home…am back from Taipei.

We only had the morning to wrap up any last minute sightseeing and shopping, and the plan was to head to Taipei 101, which was at one point, the world’s tallest building.

Germaine decided to pass and stay in the room to complete some work , so after breakfast, Jane, Rena and I took a cab over to the tower.

Luckily it was a sunny day so our pictures were clear. There was a LOVE sign below which made for nice photos.
We noticed bus loads of tourists heading towards the ticketing counters so we followed as we anticipated long queues. It took about 15 minutes to get tickets and enter the high speed lifts, the place was filled with mainlanders who were not shy to cut queue and received glares from Jane!

Audio headsets were provided to explain the features and view from the tower, we made one round and then climbed up to the open air deck but the view was obscured. Frankly speaking, Taipei doesn’t have very many interesting buildings so not much of a view.

The shops were opening just as we made our way back to the lobby and we had about 1 hour to cram as many stores as we could. All the high-end luxury brands can be found at 101 but we skipped those and checked out Longchamp first, prices are much cheaper than Singapore.

Didn’t buy anything however, and wandered to Zara. Prices were noticeably cheaper than home and I ended up with 3 sweaters.

I was happy enough with my purchases, but Jane had some purchasing to get out of her system. She ran from shop to shop picking up shirts and shoes, we even crossed over to a mall on the other side of the road before she ran back to Zara to get some pants.
We cut the timing really fine, our driver for the airport was already waiting at the hotel for us. We only had time to dump our latest purchases in our bags and check out.

For some reason, we were assigned a Camry despite requesting for a Wish. It was a challenge to squeeze all our luggage in and 4 of us ended up sitting at the back.

We were a little early so thankfully the check in queue was not long. Rena and Jane had time to do their VAT refund and then we cleared immigration.

I had used up all my Taiwan dollars and had 4 cents left so I had to borrow 300NT from Rena for lunch! We ate at a food court, I had me some Burger King…after days of oily street food, a Whopper tasted like heaven!

We found a section selling Longchamp and the 3 shopaholics in the group ended up buying the same extra large Le Pliage tote in different colours, mine was pink.

The flight was uneventful except for a little turbulence. We had pre-ordered meals and they served it quite early into the flight, we were still full from lunch so none of us finished. They were just like microwaved meals you find at 7-11.

I had a window seat though, and we had some nice clouds and sunset along the way…
Taiwan was fun, mainly because of the company. I don’t think am likely to visit there again anytime soon. The second driver in Hualien commented to Rena in Chinese that I didn’t look impressed with the sights and I guess to an extent he was right.

Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe the rain didn’t help. But overall though, I must say service was great everywhere we went. Though they might seem a little rough around the edges, the Taiwanese are very humble, hospitable, sincere and friendly. It’s like a cross between China and Hong Kong!

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