Monday, January 03, 2011

Taiwan -- Day 8 Cont'd Taipei 101, Grand Victoria Hotel, Five-Dime Boathouse and the Miramar Ferris Wheel

Taipei 101 displaced the Petronas Towers in 2004 as the tallest building in the world.  It held that title until recently when the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai.  It has 101 floors above ground and five below.  It is anchored with a large high-end seven-floor mall. The higher stories are a mix of offices, restaurants and the observatory.  On your way to The Observatory on the 89th floor you take the fastest elevator in the world.  It takes a dizzying 37 seconds to reach your destination.  It is an incredible ride because when you reach the top it doesn’t even seem like you moved. There is no “take-off” or “landing” sensation. Once at the top John purchased an individual audio tour in English for us.  It is a handheld device that you take to each of the sixteen stations on the floor.  Then you press a button and it explains what station you are at and what view you’re looking at.  Unfortunately we didn’t get fantastic views of the city due to the rain.  We also missed being able to go outside on the observatory deck on the 91st floor.  Typhoon Megi was really leaving her mark for us on this trip.  On the other hand it was amazing to be on the 89th floor of the second tallest building in the world during a super typhoon. 

Taipei 101 Mall

Taipei 101 Mall

Myself on the 89th Floor of Taipei 101

Once we left Taipei 101 we headed back for another chance at checking into the Grand Victorian Hotel. The hotel is also situated next to the Miramar shopping complex and the giant Ferris Wheel. This time we got in baby! The same fabulous lobby with the great furniture was there so Bev and I tried out our “celebrity” poses and did a little photo shoot while John checked us all in. 

Fabulous Elevator, probably the cleaniest I've ever seen.  Not a fingermark!!
Grand Victoria Hotel, Taipei

The Grand Victoria Hotel Lobby
Taipei, Taiwan

The Taiwan 5 in the elevator of the Grand Victoria Hotel,
Kate, Bev, Cola Mark, Wireless Mark and myself.

My room was fantastic.  It was decorated with great shades of burgundy, grey, violet and purple with glass accents and brick architectural details. The mini-bar and coffee station were great, as well as the free fresh fruit.  The bathroom was the piece de resistance though.  It was a glass room with a vanity, a separate rain shower and bath and a separate toilet.  It was beautiful to look at and use.  If you wanted some extra privacy you only had to hit a button and shades were lowered down from the ceiling.  This turned the open concept into a completely private bathroom area.

Grand Victoria Hotel

Bathroom at the Grand Victoria Hotel

Mini-fridge and coffee station at the Grand Victoria Hotel

We had gotten to the hotel relatively early at 4p but everyone was knackered.  So many early mornings and late nights had finally caught up with us. After we all had checked out our rooms and relaxed a little we headed to The West for a drink at 630p.  It’s a perfect little restaurant that we would also have breakfast at in the morning.  My favorite part of the drink menu though was fact that cocktails/alcohol were only to be served between 9p-12 midnight. I really don’t understand the Taiwanese take on drinking but it surely shows they don’t have a lot of European visitors, especially the Irish.

Bev and the Budweiser, well my budweiser.

Dinner was at 730p at the Five-Dime Boathouse. This restaurant is located directly across the street from the hotel. You certainly can’t miss it as its design stands out from everything.  It looks like Tim Burton dropped a restaurant right next door. 

The Five-Dime Boathouse, Taipei, Taiwan

Dinner was fantastic with 12 or so dishes.  Our table was covered in serving dishes; I think at one count there were 36.  We had a variety of meat and vegetarian choices. I have no idea of what the cost for everything was but it was fantastic. Due to the typhoon it was nearly empty so we got to explore the restaurant after dinner.  It is LARGE.  It had three or four floors and they were all covered in art. The owner Xie Li-xiang has designed five different restaurants.  Each one is a showcase for her art. The Five-Dime Boathouse was filled mostly with images representing women and their breasts.

Five-Dime Boathouse Art
Taipei, Taiwan

Five-Dime Boathouse Art
Taipei, Taiwan

Some of  36 or so dishes at the Five-Dime Boathouse
Taipei, Taiwan

Tables at the Five-Dime Boathouse

When we left dinner the rain was coming down like a waterfall, so we decided to head to 7-11 and buy some drinks and munchies and have an in room party, instead of a walking around Taipei.  On the way back from the store we noticed that the Ferris wheel at the Miramar Shopping Mall was still working. The winds were howling and the rain was coming down in sheets but the four off us thought it would be a fantastic idea to ride the Ferris wheel. With our plastic bags full of munchies and drinks we headed over to the line.

7-11 Sandwich and Burger selection.
Great prices.

7-11 Alcohol Drink Selection
We got drenched waiting for the transparent car to come along.  It was so much fun that we didn't stop laughing for the entire 17 minutes it takes to get around. Again it was another daily daring death-defying stunt in Taiwan.  Most normal people don’t say to themselves “Let’s ride a 95-meter-high, 70-meter-in-diameter green Ferris wheel in the worst typhoon in years”.  Luckily none of us are normal. We enjoyed some sake and coolers in the cab while taking copious amounts of photos and having the best laugh ever. Afterwards we retired to my room for a few drinks and blogging before bed.

View of the Miramar Shopping Complex and the Ferris Wheel
from the Grand Victoria Hotel

Cola and Wireless Marks, Bev and myself waiting to board the Miramar Ferris Wheel,
Taipei, Taiwan

Self portraits of myself, Cola Mark, Bev and Wireless Mark.
We were soaked.

Cola Mark and myself,
 Miramar Ferris Wheel, Taipei, Taiwan

Bev, Cola Mark and myself
More fabulous furniture from the Grand Victoria Hotel Lobby

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