Monday, June 20, 2011

More On Shopping At Taoyuan Airport, Taipei

The post that served as part one about duty free shopping at Taipei's Taoyuan International airport had a photo that for some reason gets viewed a lot. I don't understand why, but it's usually wise to give the people what they want (within reason) so here are a few more shots I took on a recent stopover at Taoyuan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan.

As at many airports there's almost no escaping the shops, and it's no different there; as you can see above you come through the check-through directly into the shopping area. You have to go a ways to get away from them.

Wash your mochi snacks down with some Johnny Walker Black while shopping for a watch in the Swatch shop

Normally I use the time on a layover there to put my feet up, re-charge batteries (both mine and of the gizmos I have along with me) and read email while snacking in the airline lounge, but I've also found it helpful to stand up and walk a while after a five or 12 hour flight, depending on which direction I'm headed.

A couple of times I've played "Who's Gonna Be Too Drunk To Fly" in the airline lounge - from a safe distance, of course - while watching a few of the folks pounding down the free liquor. I like to wonder who might be denied their seat when boarding drunk, but truthfully I've only been right twice, and that poor old geezer had wheeled his 22" carry-on into the video game room and couldn't find his way out when the voice over the public address system announced it was boarding time at our gate, so that was kind of an easy one. He raised unholy hell at the gate but didn't get on board. He would probably have been wise to pad his Johnny Walker with some steamed pork buns, although if you're a real alcoholic you know what precious space bread can take in your stomach - but I digress.

Not only are there the multiple cosmetic and perfume shops - the Lancomes, the Diors, the Chanels - there are also places to purchase all and sundry liquor and tobacco items, in addition to luggage, more traditional tourist-type souvenirs and, God help us all, a Hello Kitty outlet. Personally I detest that Japanese monstrosity, but there's no good reason for my dislike. It's cute and kids love it. In college I tried to start a rumor that it was run by the religious sect known by most in the US as The Moonies, but that failed, sadly enough. Ah, well.

The display for Kiehl's (from NY!) herbal elixir to the left featured a motor scooter accompanied by a rider who appeared for all intents and purposes to be Death himself. I wasn't sure if you were supposed to avoid riding the scooter or take the elixir after coming out of the Intensive Care Unit, but I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition either way.

There are a few "Taste of Taiwan" shops throughout the place, and they have a wide selection of snacks and treats, many of which will probably seem foreign to you, but the staff speaks English (if that helps you) and they're happy to explain and sometimes provide samples. I usually bring a few boxes of mochi home for friends, if nothing else. Not cheap, but nice.

There are quite a few other places there, too. We'll look at the airport and its environs again another time, but I hope this helps a little today.

[The follow up to this post appears on this post from May 8 2012]


Anonymous said...

FYI... Hello Kitty is Japanese, not Korean. And yes, children around the world love Kitty, Daniel and all her friends. Just as much as Disney's Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the gang.
Cannot see how anyone can "detest" any characters created specially for children. Dislike, maybe but "detest" and calling it "monstrosity"... really!!!
I have seen grown-ups with big smiles on their face after watching a Hello Kitty cartoon series.

khunbaobao said...

Oops... my error, now corrected, thank you! Probably because I was thinking of the Moonies, another cult :-P

I grew up loving the Disney characters, too; but it's become far too much of an 800-pound gorilla and unfairly manipulates the "wants" of kids, in my opinion. Sanrio does less of that, in all honesty. I still don't like it, but lovely if others do.

And as one last poke at both of them: I've seen adults with smiles on their faces after making any number of unwise choices ;-)

Sam said...

Interesting post about a kind of environment that's quite easy to ignore with all the flowing emotions that often accompany a flight.

The "death himself" scene is also odd to my western eyes - cultures are so fascinating in their differences though aren't they? The Mexican day of the dead is another example of this only-morbid-to-some phenomenon.

And did you know that a few years ago the Thai Police force tried to use Hello Kitty as a punishment for their own officers minor infractions?

I'm not sure the Japanese creators would consider that "kawaii", but have to say that I do.

khunbaobao said...

Thanks for that, Sam - normally I don't encourage external links in comments, but that one made me laugh!