Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taiwan National Palace Museum, High Speed Rail

If you've ever been to Beijing Forbidden City, and you wonder why it seemed to look more like a leftover carcass -- aka looking so empty, that is most likely because you are looking at the wrong place then.

All the knick-knacks, treasure from the Forbidden City was long moved to Taiwan National Palace Museum. This happens when the Kuomingtang, headed by then general Chiang Kai Shek retreats from China to Taiwan. He cleverly planned his move by enlisting all the national treasures , relocating them painstakingly to where it is now. Perhaps, that is one of the never healing scars of China till now I think.

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No photography in within, unlike many European museums. At the ground floor prior entering main exhibition area, there are photographs of items any visitor to take a peak on when they get in there. Some date back as far as during the Song dynasty (which in other word means very rare, duh)

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As too many people gets inside there, we were all given headphone receiver where we only hear our own guide talks. I think I rather get a guided tour than hearing this bugger speaking, as he mostly mumbles back on the same fact.

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One of the most exordinary piece is this Cabbage and Cricket, all made out from one piece of big jade. Known in Chinese as 翠玉白菜

Crafted during the Ching Dynasty, this is meant as a gift from the bride's family to the groom. The cabbage signifies that the girl is innocent and still a virgin, while the crickets on top on leaves symbolize she will bear many children, just like a cricket!

Apart from that, there are many china, bronze statues, porcelain paintings, not too interesting to me really.

We only get to stay there for about 1 hour, which then we rushed to catch the High Speed Rail at the Taipei train station.

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My dad strongly recommended everyone to take this ride to Tai Chung as it is more affordable to ride a bullet train here as compare to trying it at Japan, or the TGV in France. At anyhow, the Taiwanese actually bought setup all from Japan, so it most likely to be the same experience as those in Japan.

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RM67 to get you from Taipei to Tai Chung in 49min!

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I have sat in the bullet train in Japan the last time when I went to Okayama. Sort of think the riding experience is just the same. Very quite and stable ride. Can rattle a little when the train gone up to 240km/h sort of break-neck speed. Might take it next time if I travel to Taiwan myself, especially when I need to get to desired location quickly.

And so, we arrived Tai Chung...

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