A hot spring and Flora Expo in Taipei

Went to Taipei, Taiwan on January 24, 2011

I went to Taipei Flora Expo. It occupies a large area and contains a number of interesting buildings that were built for this exposition

A few days ago I made another trip to Taipei. I had two destinations: a hot spring in a district called Xinbeitou and Taipei Flora Exposition. The former destination used to have a number of unusual things. First, there was a public bath which has been transformed into a museum. Second, this district was red-light district of Taipei, but now it is probably not the case anymore.

Getting to Xinbeitou is a lot of fun. First, you take a subway to a station on the outskirts of Taipei. Then you transfer to another subway branch. Riding on that train is quite different from a usual subway trip. The train is painted in unusual colors, there are big TV screens inside each car, and there are many tourist guides along the way. It seems that Xinbeitou is a popular tourist destination.

After attending the museum I went to a public hot spring. It is located outdoors and is open for both men and women. There are a number of pools with either hot or cold water. The temperature of water in the hottest pool is 45 degrees centigrade. When I was in Finland I attended many saunas, so it is not easy to surprise me with any kind of hotness. However, this hot spring is certainly a unique experience. To begin with, it is not easy to get into water which temperature is 45C. Then, once you are in the water, you cannot move easily, otherwise your skin will have burning feeling. So you have to sit down calmly. It is recommended that you spend 3-5 minutes in such posture. Then you can proceed to freezingly cold water, your body will not notice that the water is cold for a couple of minutes. After sitting in hot water your skin will become red and soft. It is a very unusual feeling. Attending a hot spring in Taipei is a must-do experience.

Then I went to Taipei Flora Expo. It occupies a large area and contains a number of interesting buildings that were built for this exposition. And of course, lots and lots of flowers. I have never seen so many flowers! In Expo Dome you can see an amazing agriculture exhibition. It describes what grows on Taiwan, what kind of industry is built around this, for example what kind of tea they make in Taiwan, how the chicken eggs are sorted, and so on. Lots of interesting information. This resembles a Soviet-era exhibition called People╩╝s Achievements Exhibition whose aim was to show the ordinary Soviet people have achieved a lot of success. Obviously, Taiwan is not USSR, and this is why it is amazing that such a small country (compared to USSR) was able to organize such a large-scale exhibition. It impresses visitors by the variety of exhibition items and overall creates a feeling that Taiwanese dream of prosperity has come true.

There is another interesting building called EkoARK. It is an eco-friendly building that was constructed from plastic bottles. Inside there is a stage where various performances are taking place. As the area of the Flora Expo is quite big, shuttle buses are running frequently from one end to another. Of course, they are free. This is another coincidence with Soviet-era exhibition in which nearly free and convenient public transportation was presented as an important achievement of Soviet government.

To summarize, I had a feeling that I was in my childhood, in a prosperous Moscow of 1980s with so much fun for little children. Taipei Flora expo offers lots of opportunities for grown-up people, for example shopping. Tera-forming is a new trend which is dedicated to improving limited area of a cubicle in the office. At this exhibition one can find companies offering such tera-forming solutions. Also, there are lots of small shops and cafetaria so everybody can have lots of fun.