I made it to Taiwan yesterday at about 7:00 am local time. The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane, the first thing that really made me realize I was in another country, was really obvious. “Hmmm… there are a lot of Asians here. And, wow, the signs are in Chinese.” I mean, duh!
After immigration, baggage claim, customs, I walked into the center of CKS airport and saw Alex, my bf. That was a great and welcoming sight. However, it didn’t begin to take away the strangeness of what was around me.
Based on only 24 hours being in the country… here are my first impressions: Modern, yet run-down; crowded, yet spacious; strange, yet familiar; scarey, yet exciting. Basically, Taiwan has been everything people told me it would be, and nothing like it at the same time. My first impression is a country that will contradict itself. At least, in my eyes.
I’ve been amazed by the number of motorbikes on the road, and the way that they weave in and out of traffic. I’ve also been amazed at how easily the drivers of cars seem to take it all in stride. Not only the bikes, but the narrow streets, the “park where you like” parking, the pedestrians walking in the streets.
Driving with Alex yesterday, I was tempted to just close my eyes and not watch. However, there was too much to watch. All the signs, the beetlenut (sp?) stands, the motorbikes with kids perched before their parents, etc…
I’ve also been amazed by the (apparent) friendliness of the people. Yes, I’ve already noticed the stares – as a 6’6", bearded foreigner, I’d expect nothing else. But, most people have been very nice and very polite; many trying to speak to me in English. And, having more luck than me trying to speak to them in Mandarin.
Well, I guess that is it for now. Maybe in a week, I’ll revisit my post. See if anything has changed in my impressions.
Jonathan, aka LJ