I recently had a chance to visit Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. This was my first visit but I was impressed. Prior to this, I had heard and read that Taipei was not a pleasant city to live in and fared poorly in a ranking of Asian cities. It was cited as over-crowded, having few open spaces, traffic problems and severe air pollution.
This was perhaps the situation more than 10 years ago. I could still see some evidence of this when I passed through some industrial areas in the south of the city. The buildings there were very utilitarian and scarred by pollution and do not appear human friendly. However, I don’t know what they did nor how they did it but Taipei seems to have re-invented itself and have created a much more friendly city.
The image of Taipei that I saw was a city that is re-developing to truly improve the life and living standards of its people. The traffic problems have been greatly reduced by a public transit system that is clean and efficient. Today, 34% of the population use the public transport system which is one of the highest rates in the world. In fact, the whole concept of green living, including re-use, reduce and recycling, seems to have been successfully integrated in much of what they do. The city has also done much to improve open spaces and the availability of recreation to its citizen. While some problems remain, the level of improvement in quality of life does seem worthy of acknowledgment and praise.
Well, I really ought to stop typing as this was meant to have been more about a photo post. Everyone ought to know that Taipei 101 is currently the highest building in the world (and I plan a post on it soon). As I plan to do two posts on Taipei, I decided to title this post “Taipei 102” cause this will be the first post of two or 1 Of 2. Get it? It’s just another example of how a squirrel brain works ……or doesn’t work.
About the photos, they are all taken at the Longshan Temple. It represents the spiritual side of the city which is still strongly evident. Longshan Temple was built in 1738 and has expanded since. This makes it the oldest religious structure in Taipei. It is reputed to have been built after a Fujian Merchant stopped to relieve himself at the spot and hung up his sacred incense pouch on a tree to keep it safe from contamination. However, when he left, he forgot to retrieve it. Later, locals claimed to see light emanating from the pouch and upon investigation found a miraculous inscription which indicated that it came from the renowned Longshan Temple in Quanzhou, China. They took it as a sign from heaven that they should build a replica of the temple there.
Hope you enjoy the photos more than the squirrel’s verbal diarrhoea.