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Taipei : Maokong Village「貓空」

Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong - literally cat「猫」sky「空」- is a village located nearby Taipei Zoo. This is one of places in Taipei where you feel like traveling back in time. To tea plantations, slow lifestyle, somewhat tacky tourist stalls, tea cups drank in small little houses at the top of the round mountain - literally, the name of the mountain during the Japanese invasion「丸山」.

The zoo closes at 17:30 so it is perfect time to jump in the gondola and explore the streets amid the greenery. I did not have to wait a lot, maybe it was to hot for anyone to bother or maybe it was that skipping "the glass gondola" was a smart idea - yes you can see the typical cute teenage couple queueing for hours to experience something "oh-so-special" as hovering over the lush mountain top with full 360 degree view, but this is not worth when you have my patience.

As I took a stroll, somehow I started thinking about time. Nothing changes all of the sudden. 
Indeed, meaningful change only happens slowly, typically crawling through an extensive period. It's us who often fail noticing. So it feels sudden, unexpected, unbelievable, scary. When in reality, it had been the elephant in the room for a damn long time. But you ain't Walter Palmer, there's little you can do to shoot him dead.

As usual, life gives you options, to ride or run away. It's your choice, at the end of the day.

You may fall as you climb upon his back, but if you try to scape, you will never know whether it could have been different, whether actively dealing with him could have lead to something better. Hiding seems easy choice but you will always be scared, waking up from nightmares, scared as the elephant may come back to your life, once again.

These are the things that come to my mind when I am alone for prolonged periods of time. Traveling solo has a lot of controversy but it also offers a great chance to observe others. Families, couples, elderly, kids. They all have a story, even if you don't understand the language, you can read a lot in their behavior, their face or the pitch of their voice.

Taipei is a great city for solo women. It is safe and easy to navigate, as you can see, there are signs translated in English all over the place and the city, seems designed to suit tourists (e.g. Maokong Gondola is just a minute away from Taipei Zoo subway station).

Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei

Taipei authorities advise people to not use CROCS. Can we import this to... The rest of the world??

Maokong Village in Taipei

Summer humidity makes the sky look white (no it is not pollution) but still, from the beginning of the Gondola you start leaving modernity behind. The time travel, starts.

Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei

Taipei is a tropical island. Between Okinawa and Philippines, more or less at the same latitude as Hong Kong. If a city can be this lush and green, hiking in the inner jungle of the country must be an adventure I certainly would like to try one day.

Maokong Village in Taipei

Once we get to the top, the tourist stalls start to appear. These remind me a lot of the ones you can find in summer festivals in Japan and in front of Senso-ji, the temple in Asakusa, the most traditional area of Tokyo. Anyway, I am not into fried or uber-sugary stuff, so I never really eat on these.

Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei

Taipei 101 is still visible, despite being on top of a mountain quite away from it.

Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei

The tea houses in Maokong are designed for visitors. They have this decadent touch that I tend to find kind of charming, don't you think? Makes the scene a lot more real.

Maokong Village in Taipei

Like many tourist spots in Japan, Maokong comes with the mandatory temple. So you can exercise spirituality, gluttony and compulsive shopping all at once.

Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei
Maokong Village in Taipei

I was on the verge of fainting, after a day of walking in the sun, in this hot and humid weather.

Maokong Village in Taipei

Maokong Village in Taipei

Anywhere you look, everything is green and covered with tea leaves. Below you can see the structure used to grow them.

Maokong Village in Taipei

Small area map. Maokong has several hiking routes, but I did not have any shoes suited for that or enough liquid in my body to manage it. Maybe you come better prepared... And tell how did it go.

Maokong Village in Taipei

Maokong Gondola - 09:00 ~ 21:00


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