Monday, July 24, 2006

Travelogue: Ximending, Taipei, Taiwan

4 years ago when I was planning to go to US, I bought an airticket that requires me to have a layover in Taiwan for 6 hours. Then, I already decided I want to make my pilgrimage to Ximending - the Shibuya of Taipei, Taiwan.

However, as things turned out. I never made that trip. Still, I constantly hear references on TV and watch shots from the place on taiwanese programming on TV. I must admit, despite all appearances, Monkey is very ha-tai. That basically means that instead of being a jpop or kpop nut, I'm actually a tpop monkey. lol You can see why...

My house is at Ximending!

Unfortunately, as circumstances would have it, my companions for this trip were not very cheena and find no excitement whatsoever in this "shopping district". Well, I will have them know that it is more than just a shopping district. This is a mecca for youth culture thankyouverymuch!

Look! Even miaomiao comes with its own shrine here. (Postscript: I think this photo was taken beside Shilin MRT station instead of Ximending)

Enough talk from me, just look at the pictures!

Some of the highlights of the short one-hour whirlwind tour of ximending included some students doing hiphop dancing along the street. There were also some people doing breakdancing in front of a hiphop clothing store which I dare not take picture of. I'd look too much like a hick lol or perhaps not at all since isn't it asian culture to snap snap snap? lol

Of course Monkey couldn't resist taking photos with the cutiedolls and the Da Ding Dang (read: big doraemon)

It was just too bad that we didn't see any cosplay girls (and guys) in action! We did see one at Shilin market area and she had a witch/maid outfit with a frufru umbrella, sitting at the MRT station waiting for her friend. Was hoping to see more in Ximending. Oh well. But perhaps this could pass off as some costume-play.

It's interesting how the indigenous people of Taiwan has costumes similar to the Native Americans. And more interestingly, a visit to the indigenous people museum near Yangmingshan and a very indepth and interesting conversation with one of the museum staff who was also of a ethnic-native background informed monkey that the tribes in Taiwan are of a austronesian background and have closer links to the maoris than to the tribes of sino-tibetan origins. *phew* that was a long sentence. In fact, none of the tribes have concept of the sea so they could not have had migrated through seafaring. The only tribe with such a concept was the Yami people who were from Philippines and travelled by sea to Taiwan and they are the "newest" people in Taiwan, well apart from the Han Chinese who arrived just a few hundred years ago.

See more photos from taiwan at my flickr account.

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