Standing at 1,666 feet / 508 meters tall, Taipei 101 is the fifth highest skyscraper in the world. The structure is rich in symbolism and features several engineering feats. Its elevators swoop visitors to the 89th-floor observation deck in only 37 seconds and there is also an outdoor observatory located on the 91st floor. The first five floors of this impressive skyscraper are taken up by one of Taipei’s premier malls with many elegant dining options. Included in the top ranks of world-class shopping districts, the mall compares to New York’s Fifth Avenue, Paris’s Champs-Elysees, and Via Condotti in Rome.
The building’s management company had an excellent sign in the viewing platform area around the monstrous building damper that explained how dampers work. “Building dampers originated from Japan, a country with frequent earthquakes. The earliest version of a damper was nothing more than a stone foundation to put the building on. The damper worked by isolating the building from the earth, which creates relative shift that produces a counterforce, effectively reducing earthquake energy. In addition to regular high-rises, dampers appear in towers, bridges and high-tech facilities, among other large buildings. Since material and feature variations result in different designs, dampers also differ from building to building in terms of materials and looks. It may be a big tank, a large concrete block, or made of visco-elastic materials such as rubber cushion.
For our last night in Taiwan, which, after three months of sailing, also marked our last night on this sailing journey, we enjoyed an outstanding dinner with friends at YEN Chinese Restaurant – located o few blocks away from Taipei 101. Headed by Hong Kongese Chef Wo Hoi Ming, YEN Chinese restaurant serves delicately crafted Chinese dishes. With its long list of signature dishes including steamed Penghu lobster with egg white, and Cantonese style seared cod with crispy mushroom, YEN has gained a superb reputation for its innovative dishes, not to mention its superb service. This was an excellent farewell dinner to our extended travels in New Zealand, New Caledonia, Melanesia, Palau, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.