Monday, July 23, 2007

The Maokong Gondola

We went to Maokong this weekend. Maokong's a mountainous area just outside of the city, full of little tea shops, amazing views and a temperature that's a few degrees cooler than downtown Taipei. In the past we had to wait for a rather inconvenient bus or pay for a taxi ride, but this month the Taipei MRT opened the Maokong Gondola - actually a cable car - with four stops, running from Taipei Zoo MRT Station up to Maokong in the mountains.

The cable cars are quiet, run very smoothly, and were less crowded than I expected - I'd heard of 40-minute waits the previous weekend. This may be because we went up in the late afternoon and came back in the evening. It may also be because, the previous day, a mechanical failure stranded several hundred people high up in the air for several hours. (We don't read the local news quite as much as we should, and we didn't hear about this until after we got back. In retrospect, it explains a lot, including why gondola staff members seemed so nice to everybody, profusely thanking everybody for their patronage.)
This is a very blurry picture of the Taipei Zoo gondola station, but... is a somewhat clearer picture, showing where people are boarding the cars.
This is one of the service stations between actual gondola stops. The cable cars don't stop here, but these stations are manned by MRT employees.

The view, looking down.

Taipei in the late afternoon.

Here's a view of the Maokong scenery from the cable car.
One more view of Taipei.

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