To Taiwan and Back: Part 4

Finally, we have come to the best part. The pictures I have taken are the fruit of two days of unrestricted exploration in Taipei.

After lunch, we returned to the hotel and were released for free and easy R&R. I took the bus to Ximending with the drivers staying in the hotel. From there on, I made my own way around the place. Ximending (西門町) is a large shopping street where the young people like to go to. The latest fashion can be found in this place. It also has a large collection of shops with Japanese goods such as music and anime.

I did a little bit of window shopping, and as I was wandering around the place, something caught my eye.

Maybe they were imitating modern fashion, where people like to wear the rosary around their neck, even though they have no idea what it is for, nor have they ever prayed with it. But most pleasantly, I had stumbled upon a Catholic bookshop.

From the looks of it, business did not seem very good. The shopkeeper was very happy to see someone take notice of the shop. So I entered.

The John Duns Scotus Bible Reading Promotion Centre (思高讀經推廣中心) is an apostolate that is run by the Franciscans in Taiwan. They print Mandarin Bibles for the whole of Taiwan and other Catholic literature. The shop also has sacramentals from the Holy Land.

The two ladies running the shop, 廬琳琳 and 林美利. I didn’t ask for their English names. Oops. They were nice people, and I spent almost an hour in their shop conversing with them. Thank God I joined the Chinese Legion, if not I would have nothing to build on. Before leaving I purchased some Holy Cards, paperweights and a rosary ring.

And they made me take a picture with their patron St Francis too! What nice people. I shall pray for the success of their apostolate.

I spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing.

The famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian with ridiculously long queue.

The Red House Theater

Zhongshan Hall, similar to our Victoria Concert Hall. In the background they were preparing for the Taipei Poetry Festival.

I was due to meet my friend Yi Cheng at Gongguan in the evening. Remember the guy who made me disinfect my hands with alcohol after defecating in the forest during the Gunung Tahan expedition? He has since returned to Taiwan after ORD. He is now studying at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU).

He happened to be in Taipei for the weekend doing community service. I was happy to be able to meet an old friend in his country. Gongguan (公館) is where National Taiwan University is located. We decided to go visit the university. They were celebrating their hundredth anniversary of their founding.

Festivities and band performances

Bell tower


Not having consumed dinner yet, we decided to eat at the nearby night market. We settled for some Oyster Mee Sua. We had mango ice desert after that. It was a really big plate with ice cream on top. Best shared with a few people.

I also managed to find a wet market selling cheap dried beef jerky. Excellent stuff. My decision not to purchase from the tourist shops we came across in the morning was correct. We went to Xinyi (信義) after that. Xinyi is a upmarket shopping district. Very expensive. Xinyi is where the Taipei 101 is located.

Business seemed to be quite bad, even though it was a Saturday night.

Being avid readers, I decided to take a visit to PageOne. PageOne incidentally is a Singaporean company, which has branches in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

The Taipei 101 from afar.

We also paid a visit to Eslite Bookshop (誠品書店). It is the biggest book retailer in Taiwan. Its size trumps PageOne’s anyday. Regretably we did not visit the 24-hour branch at Dunhua (敦化). Oh well maybe next time.

No-smoking spaces have the most attitude.

This is an interesting poster I first came across at the 802 Military Hospital in Kaoshiung. It seems like the Taiwanese Health Ministry is trying to ban smoking in public spaces, and they have enlisted Jolin Tsai to help them. It would be wonderful if I had one of these posters in KMC. Then I won’t have so many idiot smokers reporting sick for cough and flu.

Next stop: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

National Theater

Chiang Kai Shek’s tomb.

This is the Freedom Square (自由廣場). If you read the news last year, this was the stage of student protests by the Wild Strawbery movement (野草莓運動).

Human garbage?

Yi Cheng with glee. ‘Come savour the rebellous spirit of the Taiwanese youth.’ Lol.

Press Freedom is a Human Right.

225 hours of sit-in protest.

Me standing near the gates.

So marks the end of Saturday Night in Taipei…

Coming next: Part 5

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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us

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