On my final day as my friends flew home I had booked a tour at the National Palace Museum. This was a really exciting day for me as this museum is considered the world’s greatest repository of Chinese artefacts, once part of the emperor’s personal collection. Sadly the Typhoon had other ideas and all of Taipei seemed to close its doors as the storm approached. I was left no choice but to return to my hotel room and hunker down until the storm had passed.
The following day I found my flight had been pushed back 24 hours and the storm seemed to have cleared so I headed down to the museum hopeful to see it after all. Disappointingly, it remained closed while they cleared up the storm debris, mostly foliage and trees which was strewn all over from the strong winds. Determined not to spend another day indoors now the storm had passed I devised my own walking tour. I went on to pass half a dozen museums that day, all closed but beautiful buildings none the less. Even the botanical gardens had closed their gates to the public while the clean-up was carried out.
I later found myself in the Memorial Peace Park, built in honor of those who lost their lives on February 28th 1947, now referred to as the 2-28 incident. At this time Taiwan was returning to Chinese rule after 50 years of Japanese occupation and a riot broke out. Thousands of unarmed Taiwanese were killed and many more dragged from their homes and later disappeared. Across the road a memorial stands for those lost during the White Terror. This was a period between 1949 and 1987 when around 140,000 Taiwanese were imprisoned and thousands executed as part of their perceived or real connection with the KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party. Both parks were beautiful and offered some moments of reflection.