As I mentioned in a couple of entries back, a free magnet given by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau during the Lunar New Year festival in Los Angeles reminded me of my trip to Taipei a couple of years ago. I know it’s been a while ago (2004…hehe) but still wanted to share some of my thoughts about the city as it was first time there. (For those interested in reading about my stroll to the Chinese New Year festival, please see the entry on July 27)
Taipei is a very crowded urbanized city, like many capital cities. However, defying the apathetic reputation of modernized cities, its people are very warm and welcoming. Being unfamiliar with the place, as my friends and I have never visited before, we had to ask locals for directions many times. Yet, all the people we asked, of varying ages and gender, were very informative and wanted to help. We were very impressed. 🙂
Another fascinating aspect of Taipei is that even though it is a large rapidly- developing city, land seems to be more plentiful as compared to other modern cities in the world. There are large plazas and squares in front of important monuments and around the city which make the city seem less claustrophobic. It was very pleasant to see families out enjoying some kite-flying and times together! Thus, even though our trip lasted for less than a week and we were constantly on the go, it was a relaxing and pleasurable trip.
Towering above the rest of the city, Taipei 101 was an amazing feat even though in 2004 it was not yet entirely opened to the public. Sometimes I wonder how such tall buildings could be built! It is not a shocker that it is considered a wonder in the world of architecture and modern society. Despite such rapid modernization, ancient culture is preserved. What amazing masks!
As an urban planner, I also like to pay attention to the infrastructures in place wherever I go. Having a separate bike lane and pedestrian walkway could prevent accidents and perhaps encourage bike riding. Car drivers, biker riders, and pedestrians could all share the road, which I think is a great idea!