(Flag of the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan)


(Taiwan Map)


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2009:

By 9:00 on a rainy Sunday morning we were docked in Keelung, Taiwan.

Seven minute video of the Diamond Princess arriving in Keelung, Taiwan on a rainy Sunday morning.

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

It was about a forty minute drive to Taipei where the weather was a little nicer.
We made a quick photo stop at Taipei 101.
The building became the world's tallest skyscraper upon its completion in 2004.
Docking in Keelung, Taiwan Taipei 101

The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a famous monument erected in
memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.
The blue and white colors of the building and the red color of the
flowerbeds echo the colors in the flag of the Republic of China.
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.
A large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek dominates the main hall.
The figure is shown smiling, seated and wearing traditional Chinese dress.
Inscribed on the wall above and behind the seated figure
are the Chinese characters for Ethics, Democracy, and Science.
Inscriptions on the side walls 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 Memorial Hall Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Looking out on Liberty Square from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The monument is surrounded by Liberty Park.
The structure is framed on the north and south by the National Theater and National Concert Hall.
National Concert Hall National Theater Liberty Square looking toward Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

We had a very nice lunch in the banquet hall atop the spectacular Grand Hotel.
The Grand Hotel, completed in 1973, is a landmark located atop a hill overlooking Taipei.
It has played host to many foreign dignitaries that have visited Taipei.
Grand Hotel View from Grand Hotel View from Grand Hotel

The National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine is dedicated to the
people who sacrificed their lives fighting for the Republic of China.
The buildings on this compound, modeled after Ming Dynasty palaces, are skillfully crafted.
Two military police officers stand guard at the front gate on
Bei An Road while two other officers guard the main shrine inside.
Martyrs' Shrine Martyrs' Shrine Changing of the Guard at Martyrs' Shrine

The eleven minute video begin's at the Taipei 101 skyscraper and then continues at
Chiang Kai Shek's Memorial Hall. Next we have lunch at the beautiful Grand Hotel.
The video concludes with the changing of the guard at Martyr's Shrine.

A walk through the DiHua Street area gives visitors a feel of Taipei city's past.
The old-town market has scores of shops selling a variety of goods such as Chinese medicines and herbs,
temple icons and incense, spices and dried food, colorful bolts of cloth, and bamboo and wooden crafts.
It is a fascinating patch of Taipei's past.
DiHua Street DiHua Street DiHua Street

The Lungshan Temple was originally dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Kuanyin.
But when new settlers brought with them their own gods,
the Lungshan Temple soon expanded to accommodate the new deities.
While Kuanyin still holds court in the central shrine, she is now surrounded by over 50 other
deities ranging from Kuankung, the god of war and martial virtue, to Matsu, goddess of the sea.
All were included in the embrace of the Lungshan Temple under
the concept of "one-stop shopping" religious worship.
One visit to Lungshan Temple and you could deal with sickness,
financial troubles, school examinations, and family worries.
It is hardly surprising that people flocked here.
Lungshan Temple Offerings for sale Lungshan Temple

Lungshan Temple was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian, China.
It served as a place of worship and a gathering place for the Chinese settlers.
The temple has been destroyed either in full or in part on numerous earthquakes and fires.
During World War II it was hit by American bombers during the
Raid on Taipei, who claimed the Japanese were hiding armaments inside.
The main building and the left corridor were damaged and
many precious artifacts and artworks were lost in the ensuing fire.
Taipei residents have nevertheless consistently rebuilt and
renovated it, and did so again after the end of the Second World War.
Longshan is seen as an emblematic example of
Taiwanese classical architecture, with southern Chinese influences.
Lungshan Temple Lungshan Temple Lungshan Temple

There is a public square across the street from the temple with a fountain and statues.
Despite the weather I had a fantastic time in this beautiful city.
We sailed away from Keelung around 6:00 bound for Hong Kong.
Public Square across from Lungshan Temple Public Square across from Lungshan Temple

The eleven minute video begins on DiHua Street as we walk through the unique shops and temples.
The video concludes at Lungshan Temple.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON OCTOBER 11, 2009
Hello everyone,

I had a very fun day here on the island of Taiwan, even though the weather wasn't very nice. Our ship came along side here in downtown Keelung at 9:00 this morning during a steady rain. A few minutes later I disembarked for my all day tour of Taipei. Taipei is about a 40 minute drive from the harbor here in Keelung. The weather in Taipei was better, although there were completely overcast skies all day but only occasional rain and that was very light.

Our first stop was at Taipei 101. This is a 101 story building that looks like a giant stalk of bamboo. This was only a photo stop and we did not actually go up the building. That would have been very disappointing, but with the weather the way it was there wouldn't have been much to see up there anyway.

Taipei 101


The next stop was at Chiang Kai Shek's Memorial Hall. This is a very impressive building. I was kind of pissed that our tour guide really rushed us through this place. But the next stop was only a few blocks away for shopping. So I left the group and walked back to the Hall and was able to explore it more thoroughly. I really don't understand why with very limited time to spend in a place people want to waste time shopping.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Taiwan's National Concert Hall is located on the grounds of Chiang Kai Shek's Memorial Hall.

Taiwan's National Concert Hall

The next stop was lunch at the Grand Hotel. This is one of the most impressive hotels I have ever seen. Situated on top of a hill overlooking the city. Lunch was in the spectacular ballroom on the top floor overlooking the city. When world leaders have held summits in Taiwan, this was the place they were held. See the pictures below.

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

On the next stop we watched a changing of the guard ceremony at Martyr's Shrine, I think. I don't remember ever hearing what the place was. In looking at the description of the tour that is the only place I don't remember seeing, so I assume that was it.

Martyrs' Shrine

The next stop was at DiHua Street. This was a very interesting place to people watch. Located in the old part of the city we walked down the narrow street visiting unique stores and temples. We visited one temple where singles go to pray to meet their mate. We also saw firefighters come running down the street to put out a fire. With all the incense they were burning it is no wonder something caught fire.

DiHua Street

The last stop was at Lungshan Temple. The lady below is selling offerings to take into the temple.

Lady selling offerings to take into Lungshan Temple

The last stop was at Lungshan Temple. Another very interesting place. Also very crowded, you really had to push and shove your way through. The temple was beautiful but watching the local customs was the most interesting.

Lungshan Temple

By the time we got back to the ship it was almost dark and it was time to sail away. We are now sailing toward Hong Kong. It is a sea day tomorrow but then we will be in Hong Kong for two full days.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2009:

On Monday we were sailing in the South China Sea bound for Hong Kong.



Click on the arrow above to continue to my next adventure, HONG KONG.

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