Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day 10 Tuesday - National Palace Museum > Underground Mall , Taipei

:: raining continuously and sometimes heavily ::

Today was our last day and we had half a day before we left so we decided to make full use of it.

As many shops weren’t open early in the morning, we decided to spend an edifying morning at the National Palace Museum (NPM), opening hours: 9am-5pm.

After breakfast, we took the metro to Shihlin Station, exit 1. It was raining and the winds were so gusty that Mom’s umbrella tore from its spine before giving up for the ghost.

We decided to take the Red 30 which brings us directly to the Lobby of the NPM instead of buses 255, 304, S18 & S19 as we didn’t know how large the compound and how long it will take to walk. That stop looked pretty far on map to walk in that weather.

R30 was long time in coming so we decided to take the first bus that goes to NPM - 255 which dropped us off at the front gates/plaza of the grounds. Luckily, it wasn’t as far as it looked on the map and it gave us the opportunity for snapping some pictures of the oddities before heading into the museum where photo taking is not allowed.

Admission tickets NT160. YTC holders, NT80. Audio handsets that helped explain some of the exhibits - Rental NT100). The audio handsets that helped explain some of the exhibits. Looked through the special exhibits; some of them from other countries. There were lots of school children on excursion that day. I’m not sure if their holidays have started and they are having an excursion but some of the teachers were really informative on the exhibits we couldn’t help but listen to their narration. We loved the exhibits in room 205 but were unable to even finish 3 rooms before our alloted time was up.

Left at 12+pm to make our way to Zhongshan District for my especially planned unagi treat to mom. Really good bbq unagi that had really soft bones that made swallowing less of a chore & they didn’t go heavy handed on the sweet sauce. Mmm! All of us have a satisfied look when we got out of the place. Of course, mom was in the skies and couldn’t stop chirping on and on about the food and all the other places we have visited (mostly with wrong labels and location to our greatest mortification that we hope tat she would stop this burbbling). Our original plans to target shop the Zhongshan District was pretty much shot with such a delightful lunch. Not in the right frame of mind to do it (sharp and precise). It was a pity as the area stock corporate, office type cloths than the skimpy party and casual type of clothing found in Ximending. The Zhongshan Underground Mall path was eerily quiet that we basically scuttled past al the shops (many shops were closed) without a second glance.

Went back to our hotel around 2.30pm (NT160/h for extension from 1.30pm) to wash up, pack and leave.

Went to the nearest Guoguang bus terminal that is right across the road to take the bus to Taoyuan Airport. From Keyman, cross towards the Shinkong direction at the traffic junction, travel up across the street towards Taipei Main Station and Turn left towards Guoguang Terminal. You can’t possibly miss it with the huge sign saying TAOYUAN AIRPORT. Bought Bus Tickets NT125pax. It seems that GG buses leave every 15 minutes (Yeh!) so after the operator slapped a baggage sticker on our luggage, the bus came. Unlike Freego Bus which took us for a long and roundabout trip for ~2hours, GG was more organized. The baggage store was divided into two separate trunks for Terminal 1 & 2 so we didn’t need to paw through other T1 passenger’s luggage unlike our prev trip.

Also, the bus was punctual as it only make stops at official bus stands not hotel and we reached Terminal 2 under an hour at around 4.30pm which was early. We were using the prev Freego bus trip as a gauge so we ended up there early. As we still had lots of spare time, we went to browse some books. At the airport, we bought the Ivy Nougats NT499 and green tea nougats from the Airport for comparison. I must say that the nicely boxed nougats were so delicious they were eaten before we could actually give it as a gift :P

Of course the honey gave us lots of trouble & mom had to go back to the check in counter to check it in which by then, the crowd have formed. Managed to get to the boarding area at 6.25pm phew!

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