Sunday, January 24, 2010

Taiwan welcome for Chinese visitors

BBC - China's relations with Taiwan have been tense and potentially explosive ever since the civil war 60 years ago when the island broke away from the mainland government, but there are increasing signs of a thaw.

Some Grand Hotels just do not live up to their name. One in north east Scotland particularly comes to mind.

But when you drive up to the Grand Hotel in Taipei there is no doubt. Built on the side of a hill where the green of the jungle meets the grey of the urban sprawl, it is an extraordinary rectangular structure built in the style of a grand temple with massive bright crimson pillars running up the outside of its 16 storeys. With its intricately decorated tiled roof, it is the world's largest building in the Chinese classical style. Inside the grandeur continues with a vast, red-columned and carpeted interior to match.

From the top floor you can look out to the south to the distant lights of the Taipei skyline and to Tower 101, until this week the world's tallest building.

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