Wednesday, March 28, 2007

raining today

Today we wanted to go to the national park, and headed to Taipei main station with that goal in mind. It's drizzling as we get some lunch. It's raining as we exit. And by the time we start looking for the bus, it's pouring. Nix that idea.

Instead we hopped over to check out the 2-28 Peace Park and Memorial Museum. The park is pretty, with gardens and a big monument to the events of 2/28/1947, but the museum is what stands out.

Aided by the free English earphone guide (the signs are mostly in Chinese), we learned a lot about the history of Taiwan since WWII. Especially interesting was learning about the role of Japanese imperialism and the clash between the Communist party on the mainland and the Nationalist party headed by Chiang Kai-shek. I liked this better than the National Palace Museum - though the artifacts there were beautiful, I found it much more interesting to learn about the history of Taiwan through the stories of its people.

We headed again to Taipei station for some more veggie buffet excellence, then over to the Shilin night market to peruse the scene. Checking out the youth and fashion over there, it's noticeably more casual than Tokyo - still cute, but much more laid back. Illustrating this is the fact that there are way more flat shoes in Taipei. You still glance the occasional high heel, but even these tend to be kitten heels, and not the killer three-inch and higher fuck-me pumps that all the d├ębutantes in Tokyo seem to wear. Refreshing, that.

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