Golden Week travels: Taipei – Part 3

Having done most stuff I had pencilled in, Sunday morning I decided to go to the zoo. Apparently this is the biggest zoo in Asia. I do not usually frequent zoos (I have not been to the Beijing one, as I think I would be a little sad going there),  but I was impressed with the zoo in Singapore, so I thought I would give it a try. This is at the end of the subway, in the far east of the city. The zoo was pretty cool, particularly because I got to see a panda (in real life). They have a decent range of different animals too, though it did get a little confusing at times wandering around. Still, it killed quite a bit of time. One thing that was especially cool was that the zoo had some ‘all gender’ toilets. The picture on the sign was a little weird, to say the least, but it is really good the zoo has inclusive toilets.

I headed to the botanical gardens when I got back, and had a wander around the trees and plants there.

I then went back to the shopping area and mooched. It is quite interesting people watching and wandering around. It reminded me a little of other shopping areas I have been to here. Certainly, was just as busy.

Monday morning was the day I had to leave. After departing from the hotel, I walked to the main station (about ten minutes away) and then caught the subway to the airport.

For certain airlines (not the one I flew with), you can even check-in at the train station. The airport itself is pretty impressive. The check-in desk was at the very end of the terminal. But I did not have to wait long to check-in, and security was quick too. Although the flight left late, it landed a little early to its official arrival time. The airport was pretty impressive too, and some of the gates had a theme. It makes the airport experience that little bit better, and less stressful.

Overall, the trip was really, really good. I liked Taipei a lot. The weather was wet for a couple of days, but that did not matter much at all. The temperature was good too – not too hot and not too cold. I was also impressed how much English people spoke. In Taiwan, they use traditional characters to write (mainland China uses simplified ones), so some characters are the same but some are different. I recognise a few, but a lot I do not know. However, they speak Mandarin – the same as here – so I could communicate by using my limited Chinese. But mostly, I did not have to, which was interesting. I would say there were probably more English speakers – in restaurants etc – than here. It was a nice, short break, and I even saw a store named after me (and by a name my students often call me)! What could be better than that (not sure about the picture though….)?!


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