Monday, 10 August 2009

Taiwan, Typhoons and Taste

I was glad to leave Australia.
I did like it, but God it's expensive, and they charge you for everything. It really killed my budget.
It was so nice to get to Kuala Lumpur where I had a great meal for less than a pound.
On my only night there, staying around Chinatown, I ended up drinking with some local Chinese. It was a great experience, though my head seriously hurt the day after as they drink some evil liquor, that I'm sure is nothing more than petrol.
Although Malaysia seems to be able to keep their three communities Malay, Chinese and Indian, together well, my drinking partners were very suspicious of the Indians, and told me to be very careful of them. Then again, I guess my parents would say the same about people that are different to them.
I have been very lucky and managed to miss Typhoon Morakot, that hit Taiwan just before I arrived yesterday. It has been the worse storm in 50 years.
However, can you imagine going up to the top of Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world, in the middle of that storm? It would have been awe inspiring.
View of Taipei 101 from below

Somehow Taiwan feels like the most foreign place I have been since I began this trip, or at least when you first arrive it feels like that. It is a bit like Moscow, as all the signs are in Chinese, so you can't even tell where you are, where is the hostel etc. The only concession to the Westerners is in the Underground where the names are in both Chinese and Western.
I was surprised to learn that a country so small as this is the 14th biggest economy in the world, but once you get here you can see why. The country is so modern and high tech. At the same time it still has it's charm, the little corner stalls where people come to eat their lunch etc, very similar to Thailand. However, they are so organized. They are what the English used to be. They queue for everything, and they do it properly. To get on the train, to get on the bus...

I also visited the Memorial to Chiang Kai Sek. Some people call it impressive. I don't know, it felt more like imposing and a bit OTT. Sometimes you do feel that for all the modernity that Asia has achieved, taste has been left behind.

Memorial to Chiang Kai Sek, the Father of the country
The Father himself

Not that I can really talk.

I can't wait till I get to the night markets and see a completely different side

1 comment:

  1. the above is Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.
    Dr. Sun is the founding father of Republic of China.
    Chiang Kai Shek is his follower, later became president for 6 terms!