Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Walk on a Cool Saturday Morning in Taipei Part 1

I arrived in Taipei on Friday afternoon. My body was on Hawaiian time and I had to push myself to stay awake until 9:00 PM. I didn't sleep very well and awoke about 3:45 AM. I had nothing to do. I brewed some hot tea in the room and read through the China Post and Taipei Times newspapers. My room rate at the Howard Plaza Hotel included a buffet breakfast. The restaurant opened at 6:00 and I was there early to enjoy a big breakfast which was quite good and included just about everything you can imagine. I ate slow and filled my plate more than once, taking an hour or more to eat and enjoy a few cups of coffee and read the Asia Wall Street Journal. I headed outside and walked 2 blocks to the MRT Station. My destination - The old HSA Compound area just down the street from the Grand Hotel.
I'm outside the hotel and the street is virtually empty at 7:00 AM on a Saturday morning.
Update: Some of the explanation print under a few pictures is too small to read. I'm trying to figure it out and will clean up as soon as possible.
Enjoy the walk with me today, wish you could have been there with me that morning.. It was fun and I smiled a lot.
There are 5 parts to this post..

Waiting for the next subway train to arrive at the Zhongxiao or (Chung Hsiao) Fuxing Station. Notice how clean and neat the station is. You will find this cleanliness at all stations. When you think back to the “old days” of our time in Taipei, seeing this station and things like this, brings a smile of happiness to your face and a tug on your heart.
Every station is the same. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, spic and span, as are the coaches.

Get to the right area for my train.

Here's the station name.

The train has arrived, waiting for the doors to open and we are on our way.

I get off at Taipei Main Station. I was not thinking. I should have changed trains here, but I walked up and out of the station. I looked around and did not recognize this street.

I turned around and looked the other direction and wow, I know that place. The railroad main station. I reason with myself, should I go back down to the MRT station and change trains or maybe take a walk and see the sights? OK, lets walk, it's early, it's cool and overcast.

I decided to walk and took a right on Chung Hsiao East Road toward the pedestrian overpass. Walked up the steps and took some more pictures. Notice how the streets have been significantly improved from your time. Looks like a typical city anywhere in the world.

A shot back toward the Train Station which is hidden in this picture, but it’s just to the right after the large building on the right of this picture.

This was taken looking east, again east on Chung Hsiao Road and the cross left to right street is Chungshan N. Road. I turned left here and begin my long walk. I guess that this was the area where the old railroad bridge was located on Chungshan North Road. Many roads have been moved. The railroad tracks for the Taiwan High Speed Rail are under the Main Railroad Station. I rode the high speed rail on Monday, 12 November 2007. What an interesting trip.. It took just under 2 hours to ride to Taichung and return to Taipei. Now, that is fast and I had to change trains and purchase a ticket in Taichung… Look real close straight down the street, you can just make out Taipei 101 Building in the smog. Typical weather in Taipei huh?

A few blocks down the street after I turned left and started to walk toward the old HSA area. Notice the stores located around this hotel. All of the stores were brand name establishments. Both sides of this hotel were lined with stores.

The side of the Hotel.

Walking on down Chungshan North Road toward the old HSA Compound.

If you look closely, you may recognize this hotel.

Another shot of the same hotel

If you guessed “The Ambassador Hotel” you were correct. Quite a change in scenery from the mid 1960’s. Here is the newest hotel in town in the 1960’s.

A Walk on a Cool Saturday Morning in Taipei Part 2

A shot of St. Christopher's Church.

The Cosmos Club and the last block before we reach the HSA Compound. We are looking east on Chungshan North Road.

Up toward the HSA Compound, look closely through the trees and you can see the old HSA East Compound area.

We've arrived. The corner of Minzu East Road and Chungshan North Road, looking east.
Notice the 7-11 Store on the corner in the right of this picture.

These 2 fellows have come out from the 1960's Linkou Club which was located just south of the HSA East Compound fence. They are crossing what is now Minzu East Road.
If you were in Taipei in the 60's you will recognize this picture. If you continue to walk down the street with these 2 men, you walk past St. Christopher's Church on the left and into the Bar district area couple of blocks or so down Chungshan North Road.

I left Taipei in 1968 and this location of the Linkou Club was not yet built.

Another shot of the Linkou Club.

Don't know the year of this picture. This is Minzu East Road looking toward the Linkou Club. The green side of the Linkou Club building is different that the beige/light brown color in the photograph above. The vacant lot you see before the Linkou Club is the 7-11 store in the next photograph.

What a change.

Looks like the old 4 or 5 story building that sat next to the Linkou Club might still be standing. Can't really tell.

Another photo of this corner.

The same corner from across the street, but we see the old HSA East Compound area

Here is it! The old gate area of the entrance to the HSA East Compound.

I walked a few yards north on the sidewalk and came to the old HSA West Compound Gate area Today it is an entrance to the Taipei Football Stadium.
I walked in to see what was going on. I came upon the Walking Festival stage area.
The walkers had just departed and only the booths selling merchandise were occupied.

Looks like many countries were involved. If I lived in Taipei, I would take the walk. A good place to practice my Chinese and make new friends. I plan to spend some time in Taipei when I retire.

Back out to Chungshan North Road.

A Walk on a Cool Saturday Morning in Taipei Part 3

This is an old old photograph. That's a 50 something Blue Oldsmobile. If you look up the street it looks like it's the old Zoo area with the large street advertising signs. If that's true, this photo was taken just north of the gates into the HSA East and West Compounds. Can anyone date this picture? Update 21 June 2008: Al Nip writes, The Chinese characters say, " “55th Year Celebration of the Republic of China”

This is early spring, the trees are budding. You can see the Archway just up Chungshan N. Road. This photo was taken just outside the HSA West Compound probably in the late 60's early 70's. Just up this side of the street would have been the MAAG Officer's Open Mess. It looks like the building just past that red post on the left side of this photo. Anyone have more information?

I walked back out to the street. Most of the walkers were gone. What an appropriate statue for walking on a cool Saturday morning.

We talked about the MAAG Officer's Open Mess a minute ago. This photo was donated by a friend. This is his mother standing outside probably on a Sunday Morning. This picture was taken in the 1950's.

After I came out the gate from nosing around the Walk Stage Area, I turned to my left and proceeded up the sidewalk toward the Keelung River. After walking under the large tree covered sidewalk for about 200 yards, I came to Jiuquan street. There was a traffic signal light there, so I decided to cross Chungshan North Road and walk into the grass area of Fine Arts park. This picture was taken just as I stepped on the park grass area. I'm now back on the east side of Chungshan North Road and this ground was about where the farthest end of the Chinese Hostel which fronted Chungshan North Road stood. Many of us resided in that Hostel at one time or another during our time in Taipei.

I turned south to take this picture, looking back toward the old book store area.

I got on the sidewalk and walked toward the Fine Arts Museum.

Closer to the Museum

Closer still. I was looking around for a rest room. I had a pit stop at Starbucks an hour or so ago and the coffee had run through my system. I spotted a few rental rest rooms on the edge of the Fine Arts Museum parking lot. I walked over and got in line. Struck up a conversation with a group of high school girls who were eager to speak English.

I moved on to discover the Museum was not open yet.

Most of us have seen a lot of art works depicting the Chinese Horse. Here is that art work in the real thing. No one was around the area at this early hour but me. How many children have sat in this horse saddle and been absolutely thrilled. What a piece of art and so functional....

This is the rear of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. It's a beautiful building.

A Walk on a Cool Saturday Morning in Taipei Part 4

Just about to the end of the parking lot and we'll be stepping onto
the road that runs along the Keelung River.

A shot looking back from the parking lot looking south.

Three things in this picture stand out, a commercial aircraft on final approach to landing at Sungshan, a bird flying just to the right of the street light and you can see the top of the Shin Kong Life Tower,the 2d highest building in Taipei.

There is the entrance and exit from the parking lot. We'll just walk out and see what's outside.

I'm looking west now, toward the top of Chungshan North Road where the old Zoo was located.

Here's the gate I just walked out of. To the left is another gate which leads to a parking lot. This other parking lot is a "rest area" for taxi drivers. Notice the yellow taxis parked there.

Here is a better picture of the two gates.

I've walked up the street 40 or 50 yards and look back at the gate area.

I've walked farther up the street, I just about at the top at the intersection of Chungshan N. Road

I've reached the top and a final look back down the road toward the parking entrance gate and taxi park.

Looking toward the police station on Chungshan North Road. The bridge is under repair.

I turned around and took this shot

Another shot taken from about the same area, looking toward the Taipei Story House.

I turn right again and took this photo, looking south down Chungshan N. Road

The Museum

The entrance to the Children's area of the Taipei Story House

Another shot, notice the tower in the distance. Give you some better bearings maybe.