Thursday, June 16, 2016

Taipei Audition

I went to Taipei for an audition. The part wasn't what I expected and I'll turn it down if offered. But since I was in Taipei anyway, I made a long weekend of it.

The first time I went to Taipei, I stayed at the Home Hotel, a nice boutique hotel in the Xinyi neighborhood. The second time, I stayed at a business hotel in Zhongzheng. This time, I was at the Howard Plaza Hotel in Zhongxiao Fuxing, no relation to Howard Johnson. It was another standard business hotel with rooms that look like every other business hotel, but it was in an interesting neighborhood.

The hotel is a large cube with an empty cavern in the center. All the hallways and room doors face the empty space. There is also a large dining area on the ground floor. It looks like a nice place to eat, but sitting at the bottom of a cavern isn't ideal if you want a quiet meal. It might be better to eat in an echo chamber. The hotel breakfast was ok, but after Tel Aviv, I think I'm ruined forever. The Tel Aviv hotel had the best breakfast I've ever had anywhere. I'm still trying to figure out how to make shakshuka with the spices I brought home.

Food wasn't really a problem since this was in the middle of Taipei. The Zhongxiao Fuxing neighborhood is basically shopping and food with an MRT station that will get you anywhere in the city. There are two Sogo department stores across the street from each other, connected by a subway mall. The back alleys around the larger streets are full of restaurants – mostly Taiwanese and Chinese, but there were a few Japanese and Thai. One of the best things about the neighborhood was the lack of American restaurants. There was a McDonald's and Starbucks, of course, and I saw a TGI Friday's, but I never saw a single KFC. That's a huge plus.

The hotel is an easy walk to Da'an Park, which is a nice green place to walk around in the middle of the hustle & bustle. It's about as big as Kowloon Park, without all the buildings. This is the kind of park I would use for a morning run if it were not 90% humidity every day.

Just west of Da'an Park is the 228 Peace Park and Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, which is also called Democracy Memorial Park. I'm pretty sure Chiang Kai Shek Memorial isn't the official name anymore, but that's what everyone calls it. Either way, I already saw it since it's in the Zhongzheng neighborhood where I stayed last time.

Not far east of Zhongxiao Fuxing is Xinyi. That's where I stayed the first time and I seem to go back there each time. I don't care about the shopping, but they have the closest Krispy Kreme and a nice bakery directly under one of the tallest buildings in the world.

Taipei has smaller parks along the Keelung River, and I wanted to check some of those out this time, but it rained pretty much the entire time I was in the city. Maybe someday I'll go when it's dry. Or at least not soaking wet.

The hotel had a clean swimming pool, but I didn't bring a bathing suit. Walking around Taipei in June was almost like swimming.


No hate, please. There's enough of that in the world already.