Bumbling American Chinese needs help!

I just found out that my father will be undergoing a triple bypass surgery at the Cheng Hsin Rehabilitation Medical Center on Friday May 26th. I’ll be flying out on Sunday to be with him for a week. The problem is that I’m an american born chinese with no reading skills and very awkward speaking skills (I can understand conversational Mandarin and Taiwanese, but have a problem actually speaking it freely - my mind just doen’t want to access the vocabulary).

My question(s) for you all is:

How difficult is it to get around when you can’t read Chinese?
Where can I get a good map of Taipei in english? (I can’t find any maps here and there is no time to order online)
Can anyone recommend a nice hotel near the hospital, or at least on a MRT line convenient to it? The hospital is at the Mingde station, and my mom will be at my Aunt’s apt. in JingMei. I’d probably like to be closer to the Mingde station than JingMei.
Any special things I need to know if I want to get onto a wireless network at cafe? Should I be able to just pick up a network (am on PC, running Windows XP)?

Thanks in advance!


You’ll be fine.

Everything you need to know is signposted in English, and if you speak basic Chinese then you’re far better equipped than me to communicate with people. I do fine, so you should too.

You can get wireless pretty easily in most areas of the city. Often you’ll have a choice of networks. Pick up a tourist map at the airport.

Actually, the hospital is a little more convenient from Shi Pai, which is the next station up.

I have found decent maps at the MRT stations, but that is really hit-or-miss. I lucked onto a great one there one time, but they mostly have maps of the station areas.

As for hotels, there are probably three options. There are hotels on ChengDe Road and ChungShan Road (they are parallel and don’t intersect) near the Shuanglien, MinChuan West Road, and YuanShan MRT stops. Another option would be in Beitou, which is the closest, but probably a bit more complicated and expensive (most of the hotels there are hot spring resorts as well). Another choice might be DanShui. Be careful of the location, though. Some of the hotels are quite far from the MRT and this is the one area that probably does not have a direct bus link to the area around the hospital. (As for buses, many bus lines end at Veterans General Hospital, which is about three blocks away).