Thursday, November 13, 2014

Taipei Throwback: Liberty Square, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall & Shida Night Market

Our next stop was Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂). While on the way to visit the memorial hall, most people would also spend some time around the large complex which includes the National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳), the National Theater (國家戲劇院), Liberty Square (自由廣場) and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park (中正紀念公園).





~*Liberty Square*~

Liberty Square (自由廣場) is a public plaza covering over 240,000 square meters in the Zhongzheng District of Taipei, Taiwan. Liberty Square serves as a major site for public gatherings in Taipei and is home to three major landmarks as well as civic parks. At the east end of Liberty Square stands the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. The square is flanked by the National Concert Hall on the north and the National Theater on the south. A park surrounds the plaza and a wall surrounds the site. The square sits within sight of the Presidential Office Building. The name of the square recalls the important historical role it played in Taiwan's transition from one-party rule to modern democracy in the 1990s. [Edited and condensed from Wikipedia.]

This aerial view taken from Taiwan Explorer greatly aids in visualizing the whole area. The link provided also includes easy-to-read information and photos of the whole area.




We were first greeted by the sight of the National Theater (國家戲劇院).




Walking past the National Theater, we reached the open area and saw the National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳) right across.




The Gate of Integrity which supposed to bear the words "大中至正" from what I researched also bore the words "自由廣場" which means Liberty Square.




I was a little confused by how I did not get to see the words "大中至正". Still am. The words "大中至正" could probably on the other side of the gate.




Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which faced The Gate of Integrity, stood up prominently with its white marble building.




And as if the above orientation isn't enough, let's rotate around the middle spot of the open area as we view the surroundings! You have no idea how excited I was to find this spot empty and then having people doing the exact same thing I did after that.




North: National Concert Hall




South: National Theater




East: Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall




West: The Gate of Integrity




Video version of the rotating here. Pardon my hubby trying to act silly in the background and trying to worm his way into my video at the end.




Taiwan flag.
(I've been trying to remove the slightly grey cast and borders around this pic when uploaded onto blogger. The original photo has got no problem at all. Grr...)





~*Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall*~

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (traditional Chinese: 中正紀念堂; simplified Chinese: 中正纪念堂) is a famous monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.

The Memorial Hall is white with four sides. The roof is blue and octagonal, a shape that picks up the symbolism of the number 8. The number 8 is traditionally associated in Asia with abundance and good fortune. Two sets of white stairs, each with 89 steps to represent Chiang's age at the time of his death, lead to the main entrance. The ground level of the memorial houses a library and museum documenting Chiang Kai-shek's life and exhibits related to Republic of China-era Chinese history, and Taiwan's history and development. The main hall sits on the upper level where a large statue of Chiang Kai-shek is located, and where a guard mounting ceremony takes place in regular intervals. [Edited and condensed from Wikipedia.]




I would love to have P.E lessons out of school compound like these students too! It definitely puts the fun into running.




The huge door leads to the main hall.




While facing the door, behind us was this beautiful scene of Liberty Square.




An emblem of the Taiwan flag was on the ceiling.




Reading from right to left, the characters behind Chiang Kai-shek's statue read "Ethics", "Democracy", and "Science".




The inscriptions on the side read "The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity" and "The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe".




Chiang Kai-shek is known by multiple names. His official name is pronounced Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek in Cantonese), as well as the name Zhongzheng (中正), most commonly used to refer to Chiang Kai-shek. The Chinese name of the hall is in reference to this name, as is the countless Zhongzheng Roads found all over the island.




Having walked for the whole damn day, we simply spent the rest of the evening sitting on the white steps and engaged in people-watching from afar.




As usual, we hadn't done enough research to know what time the flag lowering was. We thought we had missed the hourly changing of guards and were simply resting on the steps when lo and behold, we saw the guards marching towards the flag pole! We hurriedly ran down the stairs to catch the flag lowering ceremony.




In strict military fashion, the guards' move was synchronized and syncopated by foot stomps and rifles. This video shows them marching towards the flag pole.




The guards were really tall and were almost of the same height. Their towering height made them look really suave and smart.




This video shows them lowering the flag.




This video shows them marching back.




I think those security guys in suits are so cool!




I love the little Chinese girl in red. She is just too cute. I was just hoping that she would face me long enough to capture a shot of her.




We decided to call it a day at Liberty Square and exited from the area via the Gate of Piety (大孝門).




Could we have such crossings in Singapore too?




In just 10 minutes, darkness crept over the city. Yup, 10 minutes passed from the previous picture to this.




~*Shida Night Market*~

We decided to end the day at a night market coz what else is Taiwan famous for but their night markets full of delectable Taiwanese snacks? Shida Night Market (師大夜市) was the nearest to where we were.




Shida is located in one of the most trendy neighborhoods in Taipei between two biggest universities in Taiwan, namely Shida 師大 (short for National Taiwan Normal University) and Taida 台大 (short for National Taiwan University).




Thus, it is geared more to the young adult crowd. As what some of my friends and websites say, the highlight of the experience is the plethora of trendy, inexpensive shopping choices, rock bars, cafés, and restaurants around the area. It certainly didn't look like those normal night markets I often see on variety shows.




I was so surprised to see pets being sold at the night market. Fortunately, we were in Taiwan. Should we be in another (AHEM) country, I would have feared that those kittens and puppies are meant to be slaughtered for food. I hope these little babies would go to responsible owners.




Since there was a long queue at this stall, the food had to be good.




This was our very first night market food in Taipei -- savoury crepe of mushrooms and ham. Totally western!




How could we miss out on salted crispy chicken (鹽酥雞) in Taiwan?




We saw many locals queuing up at this stall which is a sure indication that the food might be good.




The food reminded me of Yong Tau Foo back in Singapore and so we gave this a miss.




We ended buying predominantly Taiwanese food for dinner which consisted of some stuffed dishes with rice cakes and soup.




When in Taiwan, drink bubble tea! I was told by my friends that bubble tea in Taiwan whether famous or not would taste better than anywhere else in the world. I was craving for matcha and settled this craving at Cha Fan (茶番). "Fan" in Mandarin is pronounced as the "ah" sound like the English word "fun" and not the "air" sound like the English word "fan". Nevertheless, I wondered if the word "番" (fan) after the word "茶" which means tea, is really a pun on the English word "fan". As in you know, tea fan... a fan of tea.




If so, call me a Tea Fan!




This post concludes Day 1 of Taipei. Click the hyperlinks for Day 1 Part 1 and Part 2. I would be taking a break from posting about Taipei for the next few days as you might just be tired of seeing Taipei, Taipei and more Taipei. In actual fact, I've to catch up on other stuff so I would update my blog with filler posts next.

46 comments:

  1. Shida is a bit different from most of the traditional night markets in Taipei but I liked it - less crowded and more vendors and boutiques with things I would actually buy/use and clothes I would actually wear!

    Jemily Life

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    1. Hi Emily. Thanx for sharing your view. Many of my friends and blogs I read about Taipei online said the same of Shida. I thought I would like Shida exactly for the same reason as you but somehow I couldn't find anything nice to buy that night. Maybe it depends on the fashion trend of the season too.

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  2. Jo, Liberty Square impressed me a lot, I feel in awe seeing the photos of Memorial Hall, the pics of u in the middles shows so well how HUGE it is and you also look very great and sweet as ever. Have watched also the videos of it ( you hubby is so fun) and the ones of the flag lowering, hopefully you didnt miss it! Guys in suit always look cool, even here is the same! :P Btw, Im also interested in the night market, must be very nice to visit and try new treats. For sure if ever happen to be in Taiwan I will drink bubble tea! Hugs dear xo

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    1. Hey sweetie Lilli. I smiled at your comment. I was awed by Liberty Square too. The huge space does seem like a good area to roam and relax. My hubby likes to purposely worm his way into my video or somehow do stupid things w/o knowing that I'm taking a video, rendering that video unsuitable for online viewing. Hahaha. Bubble tea is such an Asian culture and I do hope that my non-Asian friends like you would love the various varieties of bubble tea.

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  3. Hi Jo, I am a huge fan of tea too and I'm so jealous of what amazing blends you can get in Taipei!! The night market is also very charming and unique. I really would love to visit the city. Awesome shots as always. Also, I followed you on IG, Bloglovin and Pinterest but sadly I don't have GFC so I can't help you there :)
    Have a wonderful day my friend!

    Arianna, Nymphashion ♡

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    1. Hello Arianna, You're so sweet. Bubble tea is such an Asian culture and I do hope that my non-Asian friends like you would love the various varieties of bubble tea. Thank you for the follow and support, dearie. I've also followed you on all those platforms as I love to support my lovely blog friends like you. I couldn't see your follow on Pinterest, it could be my wonky notification. Happy TGIF!

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  4. What a cool historical site to be able to visit!

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  5. Wow... what nice places. I love the night market, looks so much fun there.
    As usual, you and hubby is very romantic ^.^

    Cheers,
    Dreamy Princess

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  6. I'm actually considering going to Taiwan very soon and I really want to visit their famous night markets because I'm a food addict :P The Salty crispy chicken looks delicious! And I must try bubble tea if i go there too!! :)

    xx
    Beautifyinglifee

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    1. Hey Fifi. Ah, I hope you get to go to Taiwan then! They have so many night markets, you would be spoilt for choice to choose your favourite one. And yes, please do try bubble tea. So many variations but I always love the good old milk tea and matcha.

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  7. OK, so the whole theater/concert hall thing is a prank right? Same building? Right? Or is it one of those puzzles where you try and spot the differences? Looks like a cool place for sure. Cute fuzzy animals and I share your hopes for them. And some great shots of you, dear! Especially enjoyed that last one! Very wow :))

    http://downwithpants1969.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hello Rick. I was confused about the 2 buildings too when I looked at the photos. Even Google is confused. They churned out images of both of them and named them interchangeably. I supposed many people couldn't tell the difference as well, named it incorrectly and hence Google picked them up incorrectly too. Tip: The National Theater's roof looks leaner and flatter.

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  8. what a beautiful city, and all that food looks amazing!!

    M + K

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  9. Wow Jo... this looks like you had a amazing time... I want to travel to see things like this, all the different cultures and all the historical buildings... I wouldn't even know where to begin with the food, with having all these street vendors... I would probably go for the longest line thinking it was the best food too... Usually that means they would have the best food... ;)

    I like the video with your hubby trying to get in on the action... really cute..xoxo

    I hope everything is going well, thank you so much for your kind beautiful comments have a great weekend :)

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    1. Hey Launna, I smiled while reading your lovely comment. Oh, I seldom queue for my food back in Singapore coz I've experienced a few cases of super long queues whereby the stallholders are just slower in action. That said, I'm more ok to queue when on holiday probably because it's in a different country with a different mood. In Taiwan, the long queue is indeed a testament to good food most of the times.

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  10. Sooo amazing! I love places that look the exact opposite to where I live. This is wonderful, so much to see. I hope to get here one day.
    I saw your comment...I think you're right, most don't appreciate what is around them. There are wonders everywhere. The UK is so different from America where I from, but I can appreciate both places for what they are. I never tire of the places I get to see in the UK because they are different. I see beauty everywhere. The only thing that I grow tired of sometimes is the rain, it can make me tired. But, some would love rain if they live where it's hot and dry all the time, so we have to learn to appreciate what we have as best we can :) Hope you're having a great week doll xx

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    1. Hi Kizzy, It is good to have a mindset like yours! The world would be such a happy place. I've only been to London in UK but I love it even when it is so gloomy and rainy. There's just so much beauty and charm in there. Oh, it is the rainy season here and I do not like it when I'm out coz I hate squishy wet shoes so I understand how you feel about the rain. I do love it when I'm snug at home though.

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  11. Hi, Jo! What a great throwback post from Taipei! First of all, let me make you and your husband a compliment - you make such a lovely couple! Now to the places - the Gate of Integrity looks stunning, really! The middle spot is only for a photo - you were lucky to find it empty and to take a pic. Your hubby at the first video is really funny! The girl in red is so cute sitting on the ground, I find kids adorable! I can't believe it got dark for 10 min, that's strange but I guess it's normal for that part of the Earth. I love green tea so you can call me a green tea fan as well, haha. Those kitties and puppies are so cute! Seems that the day was really good for you two!

    sunandsany

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    1. Hello fellow green tea fan. Thank you for your sweetness, Stanislava. That made me smile. My hubby likes to purposely worm his way into my video or somehow do stupid things w/o knowing that I'm taking a video, rendering that video unsuitable for online viewing. Hahaha. If you saw the front view of the little girl, you would love her to bits.

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  12. Interesting post: I would like to visit Taipei one day. I almost did a couple of years ago but since flights from/to Hong Kong were not that cheap, I had to drop it from my itinerary. But thanks to you, I kind of get to visit anyway.

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    1. Ooh, Taipei is in Taiwan but I guess from how far you are located, the transit might be in Hong Kong perhaps? I'm glad you got to "visit" Taipei via my blog.

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  13. ohhhhh i remember going to those places when i went to Taiwan. LOVE LOVE LOVE! i want to go back for the foooood, the shopping, the site seeing! everything, the only problem is that i don't know the language, i had to rely on my friend so much. And the scooters scares me, other than that i love taiwan!

    looks like you had so much fun!


    www.mizzsandychau.blogspot.com

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    1. Hello Sandy. Ah, I thought you knew Mandarin. I realise that we have been blog friends for a few years but we haven't spoken about this before. I think you are a Chinese living/born in Canada? Do correct me if I'm wrong. Our education here in Singapore is supposed to render all of us bilingual but my Mandarin is quite bad too. Plus there are lots of Taiwanese lingo which I don't quite understand so I'm just as clueless in Taipei.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your throwback post. Taipei is beautiful through your lens, and its nice to see a different perspective.So, glad to know the kitties and pups are okay and not being slaughtered. Enjoy your weekend dear. /Madison
    The Great Outdoors

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Madison. I'm glad to have brought Taipei to people through my lens.

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  15. oh wow jo! the monuments and architecture are outstanding. i think i would get dizzy looking down (circles). very lovely. i've read about lucky and unlucky numbers in asian cultures. i find it so interesting. there's so much meaning behind everything asians do. i like that. yes, if there's a line the food must be good. do you know i've never had bubble tea? that will have to change. LOL
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Hello Kim. To be honest, I felt dizzy while looking down at the concentric tiles and walking at the same time. I had to look up. Me thinks the tiles are built this way on purposes -- so that people could look up and enjoy the view! Asians have some really silly superstitions which are fun to know and as modern Asians, we pick and choose which ones make sense. You have to change that fact! Bubble tea is such an Asian culture and I do hope that my non-Asian friends like you would love the various varieties of bubble tea.

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  16. Looks like a fun day Jo! I'm loving the Chinese architecture and the food looks good! I agree with you that seeing pets in cages is freaky because people eat them in certain parts of the world too :(
    xx
    www.junewantsitall.com

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    1. Thank you for your comment, June. I'm so glad to know that we are on the same plane with regard to animals in cages in markets.

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  17. Liberty Square and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall are two such iconic and well known sites in Taiwan that it seems any tour there would seem incomplete w/o visiting these two places. And night markets are so integral to Taiwan and it's culture as well. How interesting that they also sell pets there as well. Salt and pepper chicken is of my faves! One of our bubble tea places in Chinatown makes it and it's actually quite good.

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    1. Hey Rowena, what you said is really true. Oh, I haven't come across a place that sells great Chinese food in NYC when I was there. I could find them in other western cities like London and Paris but not NYC. Those really authentic Taiwanese and Chinese eats opened by Taiwanese and Chinese. I think I should read your blog more often as you often write about places that serve really good food in NYC! I love it when I find a comforting Asian eatery in a Western place.

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  18. I remember my grandparents mentioning Chiang Kai-shek and the Red (Communist) Chinese. It was very confusing. I'd heard that Native Americans were called "red" even though they never looked red to me. Were Native Americans Chinese??? They didn't look red either. Confusing! I decided that adults said dumb things sometimes.

    The Hall looked small in the far-away pictures, but I see that it is huge! Liberty Square reminds me of Independence Mall in Philadelphia, but much cooler! I have a "what cat tastes like" story (from my dad). Would I get run out of blogworld if I posted it??? :)

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    1. Hey Rick. I chuckled at your comment because many "Ang Mo" like you often ask us the same question. I will get to what an "Ang Mo" is later. And no, the adults are not dumb. Hehehe... Here's a mini casual history lesson:

      Firstly, I supposed your grandparents mentioned "Red (Communist) Chinese" to refer to those Chinese who follow Maoism (Mao Zedong was the leader then) which is communism in China (derived from Marxism). It could refer to the Red Army or the Red Flag to signify communism. I found these sites very useful with easy to read info:
      http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/china_red_army.htm
      http://www.ducksters.com/history/cold_war/communism.php

      On native Americans being called "red":
      "Ang Mo" means "red hair" in Hokkien and is commonly used in Singapore and Malaysia to mean Caucasians. Back then it was used derogatorily but now it is just a general Hokkien term to refer to Caucasians. I'm not sure why they don't call them "yellow hair" or "brown hair" since there are so many blondes and brunettes too. I read somewhere that their fair skin burned easily in our tropical sun and hence the term "red" was used.

      When Caucasians namely the Colonial masters of Asian countries like British, French, Spanish, Dutch came to colonize various Asian countries, the locals do not take kindly to them colonizing us initially and hence came up with that term. Subsequently any Caucasians/fair skinned people from America and Australia would also be generally termed as "Ang Mo" and we mean no harm.

      Yup I was awed by the huge doorway to the main hall! I supposed I might not like your story of "what cat tastes like". But I would be curious to know.

      I love interacting with international blog friends coz while imparting knowledge, I'm also learning. I read up a bit on why red and Chinese were connected before I could reply you confidently. I hope you enjoyed this mini history lesson!

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  19. Hi there. Very lovely pictures of you and your husband. Enjoy your alone time �� how I used to love to do as much as I can back when when I have no children. I also love to shop at a night market so calm and relax Hope you have a great weekend Jo.

    Xx. http://attraction2fashion.com

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    1. Hello Tanya. Yup, we have to cherish these couple time while we can coz having a kid would really be a total change in lifestyle though I see that you are managing so well with 3 boys. I really admire you for that! ♥

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  20. Hello Jo,Thanks for sharing your amazing journey in beautiful Taipei. The very detailed tour you gave us of Liberty Square and the amazing architectures that adorn the area was absolutely amazing. From all the beautiful people walking around to the food you enjoyed, I enjoyed it all. I also hope that the kitties and little puppies find a forever loving home and not get harmed in any way. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post and by the way, you are super adorable:-) Thanks for visiting my blog. It meant a lot to me. Blessings! Jeannette

    www.msjeannieandhercloset.com

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    1. Hi Jeanette. Thank you for visiting back and your sweet lovely comment. It means a lot to me too as I love meaningful connection with fellow blog authors around the world. Hope we would keep the 2-way communication going! xo

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  21. These photos totally make me miss Taiwan! I remember coming here with my friends while sightseeing. Love your photos - they're so pretty!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your sweet comment. I love seeing newcomers around!

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