Escaping a rainy Sunday 下雨的星期天

It’s been chucking down with rain every afternoon for the past couple of weeks making it virtually impossible to go out.  This morning I got really bored at home and decided that even if it’s a Sunday and might rain again, I’m going out.  No matter what.  The question was where?  Then I remembered there’s this outlet mall outside of town. It’s right by the motorway (or highway as they call it here) with a massive ferris wheel outside, you can’t miss it.

連續兩個星期每天都在下雨,人也變得納悶。 今天決定一定要出外逛逛。 離開台中市大約半小時車程有麗寶Outlet Mall 和全台灣最大的摩天輪。 Outlet 旁邊有一家大飯店先往那裏逛逛。我覺得大飯店像一座曾經非常輝煌的公共大廈, 現在有點殘舊。 加上廣場前一對大公雞,總是覺得有點格格不入。 唯一讓我較欣賞是一家出租小孩電動汽車的商店, 和一個動物公園。兩樣我都覺得蠻有創意, 可以兼顧一家大小不同喜愛。 至於outlet本身的貨物折扣並不吸引。一般只打7折,有極少數低至35折。 7折這個價格一般在百貨公司大減價時也會有,所以我覺得這裡自稱outlet有點牽強。 美食廣場範圍很大,還有兩台最近台灣非常熱的流動卡拉ok。 Outlet賣點是一座120米高的天空之夢。環繞一周需要大約25分鐘。今天天氣很差,加上附近沒有什麼景點可言,所以我還是留在地面拍照好了。

HOTEL OR PUBLIC HOUSING

An hour later, I had arrived at Lihpao Outlet Mall.  I don’t know if it’s because of the gloomy weather or whether its the design of the complex, but my first impression of it at close up is that it felt a bit dated. There’s a hotel next to the actual outlet mall, I wandered out there first.  The hotel looked like a once glorified and glamorous public housing estate, and where the windows and railings were colourfully designed, I couldn’t but help think it felt a bit tacky.  In front of the hotel on either side was a massive rooster which definitely looked a bit out of place.

CREATIVE FACILITIES

The shops in front of the hotel continued with pretty much the same theme.  There was one which I quite liked and thought was really cute.  It rents out remote controlled mini kiddies vehicles.  There were loads of models to choose from and you can pick anything from a beamer, Bentley, or even a Hello Kitty one!  They cost between USD6.5 to USD11 per 30 minutes.  I’m not sure how it worked, but I saw the parents holding the remote controls and the kids were steering, maybe the remote control was just to control the speed.

Taiwanese are big pet lovers and many people take their pets out over the weekend.  This outlet has a Pet Garden,  the first time I’ve seen one.  Not being a pet person, I didn’t see what facilities were inside, but I just thought this was very interesting.

AN OUTLET THAT ISN’T AN OUTLET

Next was to check out the outlet.  There were no shops on the ground floor entrance, and I thought it looked more like a hotel lobby than an outlet mall.

To be honest, as an outlet this wasn’t very tempting at all.  The first floor has some popular international high street brands such as Superdry, Body Shop, Levis etc.  The next floor was all the major international sport brands.   Most of the goods were sold at 30% off, some were down to 50%, or even 65% off but those were very far and few between. In my opinion you can hardly call 30% off an outlet.  You can get that off department stores when they do their annual sale.  On the third floor was a big food court and access to the ferris wheel which I’ll come to in a minute.

Karaoke booths are becoming very popular in Taiwan and you can always find a few dotted around in shopping malls.  They only cost less than USD1 a song and I was very tempting to try them out.  These two booths were very busy all afternoon, and short of waiting outside in a queue, I couldn’t get in at all.  Next time maybe.

 

THE SKY DREAM

The selling point of this outlet is the 120m tall ferris wheel, the Sky Dreaskm, dubbed The New Landmark of Taiwan.

Each ride takes about 25 minutes and I think the cost per person is about the same as renting a kiddies electronic car for half an hour.  I didn’t go on it as first, it was a gloomy day, and second there is no view around here.  So apart from hanging around in the food court, this is where I spent quite a lot of my time snapping a few photos.

I managed to get out today even if it was still indoors.  Not quite the Sunday I had in mind, but still, can’t complain.

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