While another year barely stops to wave goodbye as it races towards the finish, Taipei-ers cannot not wait do something creative to mark the beginning of 2009.
New Year's Eve Party at Taipei City
Since 1996, ringing in the New Year in front of Taipei City Hall has become a tradition for many Taipei residents. In fact, more and more visitors from all over Taiwan flock to Taipei City Hall for the festivities every year. Last year, more than 600,000 people crowded into Civic Plaza for the NYE countdown and this year the party goes on. The Taipei City Government has announced that Countdown to 2009 will be hosted by veteran TV hosts Hu Gua and Pauline Lan. The lineup includes performances by Taiwan diva A-Mei and Taiwan's No.1 rock band Mayday. This free outdoor concert, a cheap and fun way to welcome 2009, is only made possible through government sponsorship.Though the celebration at Taipei City Hall is a great way to welcome the new year, it is not without its difficulties. Like any large-scale public event, the Countdown to 2009 will not be accident-free. Don't be surprised to see people pushing and shoving their way to the exits; don't be shocked when your large group of friends disappears into the crowd during the countdown, leaving you to wander home alone.
The best places to kiss on New Year's Eve
You know the tradition--the best way to start off the new year is with a little good luck kiss! Though this is a long-standing tradition in a lot of Western countries, the trend is just catching on in Taiwan.If you're looking for a high-rise, rooftop type of thing, look no further than the 89th floor observation deck or 85th floor restaurants in Taipei 101. You can also consider the Ferris wheel in Da-Zhi, on the back road of Cultural University, and Chingtienkang on Yangmingshan.The film critic/author/blogger that goes by the handle Mr. Poor Boy recommends a pucker place, a convenient spot that all taxpayers have the right to use--intersection overpasses! Though this may not sounds like a very romantic spot, think about it: hand in hand with your sweetheart, watching Taipei 101 tower fireworks on a Xinyi district skywalk is really a lovely time, though it's not very discreet. The newly-renovated overpass that crosses HuanHe North Road has an observation deck with a 270-degree view; you can see as far as Dan Shui River! It's an ideal kissing spot for couples who are madly in love and worry about peeping toms. There is also the airport runway by Sung Shan Domestic Airport. Love birds can watch takeoffs and landings as they get their own engines going.
Saying 'Bon Voyage' to 2008
Taiwan, along with the rest of the world, is almost finished weathering the ups and downs of the last 12 months. Letting 2008 go in style and on a budget is a great way to set an example for the rest of the year. After all, what better time than New Year's to look toward a brighter future? When you're ready to count down to last 10 seconds of 2008, just close your eyes and repeat, "Everything will be great...next year!" And if that doesn't work out, there's always 2010.
Photo was taken by coolmitch. Under the Creative Commons.