Taipei World Design Expo

Entrance to Songshan venue

As a teambuilding activity, all of our company’s Taiwan-based tech writers took the day off  on Friday to go on a field trip – and what a day it was! Taipei was selected to host the 2011 Design Expo divided among three venues: Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (great name!)  and two Nangang Exhibition Halls. We met at Songshan @ 10am under gorgeous skies along with hundreds (thousands perhaps) of like-minded design aficionados. After waiting in line to get a program we entered the Expo. Much like a county fair, there were exhibits in various buildings; we opted to start in the “back” and work our way to the front, since it was obvious that the exhibits closer to the entrance were mobbed! Every type of object (for work or play) you could imagine was represented. My favorite was the floor housing the “Golden Pin” award winners for innovative design of products sold in Taiwan!

The eponymous golden pin!

Room after room of colorful, useful, imaginative products! I love this stuff! I could have spent all day there but our plan included catching all three venues in one day, so, off we went. After a wonderful lunch at a nearby pizzeria, we road the MRT (blue line) to the end-of-the-line: Nangang. The giant exhibition halls housed more industrial displays with vendors from all over the world. My personal favorites were the BMW booth with it’s upbeat music and crazy lighting and a local handbag designer:

Designer handbags

speed demon

Mela adventure across town, part 1

I checked the city map. I googled the location online. And then I started walking, through the day market, and turned – the wrong way (of course).  I didn’t notice at first. I did notice that none of the bus stops bore the bus numbers I was looking for. 20 minutes later, Heping was in front of me and I knew I had managed to get turned around.  Out came the map (again). I walked down Keelung (again), past Taipei 101, Taipei City Hall, and on until the Sun Yat Sen memorial was on my left. Wow, had I not been so focused on getting to my destination I would have taken pics (incredible building and surrounding grounds) but on I went…not many people were on the sidewalks (my first clue).  The road I was supposed to stay on (according to the map) was under construction (my second clue) so suddenly I found myself on a dead-end street. And just as suddenly, my resolve to walk the entire way to Songshan Train station melted. I asked several peeps if they knew where Bade road was. They didn’t. I hailed a cab and after driving me in circles it was apparent he didn’t either (couldn’t read the English address I guess). I asked several store owners and they pointed across the road so I walked a bit further and finally ducked into an office building  to try and cool off.  By some miracle, it was the building I was looking for. The email said what I wanted was on 3F but when I got off the elevator, the place was a ghost town. Arrrgh. Oh wait, there goes someone! He spoke English and directed me one floor up. Aaaaaah! The elevator doors opened and I found myself in Mela-land (an actual Melaleuca store)!

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…