The Philippines has this really terrible policy of murdering drug users and extorting their families and ANOTHER terrible policy of requiring booked onward travel plans from all tourists who enter. That is to say if you want to go to the Philippines (and you do) on the flight in to the country you’ll need to show the flight crew that you have a confirmed ticket to fly out of the country. It’s an obnoxious policy that means you need to square away your travel plans way further ahead than Heather and I like. What we did, that is to say what Heather did, was look for the cheapest option to fly out of Manilla which turned out to be $50 flights to Taipei, Taiwan which was serendipitous because that was our intended first destination out of the US before the price rose and we decided to go to Singapore instead.
Taipei is a funny city. It’s pretty startlingly ugly; all very blocky grey buildings. But inside any building it’s usually laid out quite creatively and colorfully. The MRT is great in that it’s cheap, goes everywhere, and you can fill up smart cards for it at any 7-Eleven, which are conveniently located every three or four feet down every road in Taipei.
One of the first things we did was hop on the MRT and check out Chiang Kay-shek Memorial Hall. We did this on an exceptionally grey day which made it difficult to make the pictures look interesting but we endured! Chiang Kay-shek is apparently a controversial figure among the youths these days but his hall is nice. It’s very Lincoln Memorialesque. There were two identical buildings that looked like this:
Which had steps leading up either side of the white stuff which appears to be an uncomfortable but ornate slide. Up at the top you can look back on the two mirrored buildings I mentioned and the courtyard and gardens. If you’re clever you can also take a picture and apply an inverted radial filter to strip the color out of the border to create a slightly more contrasty, colorful picture:
Then you’ve got the statue of Chiang himself, which looks like this:
But overall I was more taken with the ceiling. I’m a real sucker for symmetry.
Coming soon: The Pingxi Lantern Festival and the best picture I’ve ever taken!